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U.K.’s ‘Forrest Gump’ runs across Ireland in under 24 hours

Fuelled by Guinness and U2 songs, Robert Pope ran 213 km from Galway City to Dublin

Robert Pope British marathoner

British marathoner and podcast host Robert Pope, 44, downed a pint of Guinness in Galway City, Ireland, and hit the road. The Liverpool native ran the 213 km trek to Dublin, the capital city, in a record-setting 23 hours, 39 minutes (pending verification). Upon arrival, Pope had his post-run beverage of choice: another Guinness.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Rob Pope (@run.robla.run)

Pope made the decision to attempt the feat only two months earlier and told the BBC that, while he had originally planned to follow an eight-week training regime, the Glastonbury music festival got in the way. “I was also working, so it was probably just five weeks of ‘yeah, I’m happy with that’ training,” said Pope.

Robert Pope's record run across Ireland
Photo: Instagram/run.robla.run

Pope dedicated his run to raising funds for the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and well surpassed his goal of $3,100. The athlete posted about his effort on social media, his ever-present sense of humour apparent throughout: “People have asked why I want to do this and, like Forrest, they’re asking if I’m running for world peace, the homeless, women’s rights, the environment or animals. Well, I’ll take any opportunity I can to tell you to PLEASE go and check out the work of the WWF and Peace Direct and see how you can help, but this is more the classic answer: #justfeltlikerunning.”

Pope had promoted his run under the hashtag #EdgetoEdge to celebrate U2 guitarist the Edge’s birthday, so, over the course of his run, he listened to the band’s entire catalogue in chronological order.

Robert Pope
Photo: Instagram/run.robla.run

This adventure was far from Pope’s first unique personal challenge. In 2016, he ran the length of America five times, following the route of the fictional movie character Forrest Gump. He covered 25,140 kilometres in 422 days, and wrote a ‘love letter to America’ about the adventure called Becoming Forrest. 

Robert Pope running as Forrest Gump in 2016
Photo: Instagram/run.robla.run

Pope is a renowned marathoner, with a marathon PB of 2:27:13 from the 2016 Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon. He holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon dressed as a film character, set for running the 2018 London Marathon in 2:36:28 (finishing 82 overall) while dressed as–who else? Forrest Gump.

Robert Pope Liverpool marathon
Photo: Instagram/run.robla.run

“Maybe seeing me win, lose, or draw will inspire you to do something, to challenge yourself, or make a difference. Just remember and this is the most important point of this run – it’s giving it your best that counts, not whether you impress others, or present the perfect image,” Pope said.

“Take pride in the struggle, you’re ace, you are,” he added.

You can still donate to Pope’s fundraiser here.