The real-life Forrest Gump was in Beaufort last week.
Robert Pope, a 39-year-old veterinarian from Liverpool, England, recently began the fifth leg of his cross-country run in which he is taking the same path that Forrest Gump did in the movie.
Pope has always been a fan of the movie, even though he has only seen it a handful of times.
“I just felt like running,” said Pope, quoting Forrest Gump when asked why he decided to run across the country. “But seriously, my mom always told me to do one thing with my life that makes a proper difference. I’ve always wanted to run across the country, and I figured that this could be more than just a sponsored run, I could do something really big.”
According to Pope, more than 300 people have made the run across the United States, but none have followed the exact path that Forrest Gump did in the movie in its entirety.
He has already crossed the country four times and started the first leg of his journey in Mobile, Ala., in September 2016.
Since then he has ran more than 13,000 miles.
He ran from there to Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, Calif., before turning around and running back across the country to Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine.
He runs with a baby stroller carrying all of his supplies and has mostly been couch surfing and staying in cheap motels during his trip.
The fourth leg of his run brought him from Maine back to California before turning around and running to Beaufort.
On Friday, he ran from The Sands in Port Royal to Hunting Island State Park and then from Hunting Island State Park he ran to downtown Beaufort.
In Beaufort, he met up with 15-year-old Lowcountry Montessori student Mathew Nans, who is working on a documentary about Pope.
Nans filmed Pope as he recreated the iconic scene from the movie in which Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump runs across the Richard V. Woods Bridge in downtown Beaufort.
“This is the scene from the running part of the movie that everyone remembers the most,” Pope said about the scene. “So we wanted to make sure that we had it right.”
It only took two times for Pope, a few volunteer actors and a sparse film crew to film the scene.
“Everything just fell into place,” Pope said. “That’s when you know it’s meant to happen. When fate conspires, you know.”
Pope will now be starting the fifth and final leg of his run, leaving from Beaufort and passing through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending his journey in Monument Valley, Utah.
He also plans on sending Hanks a Hunting Island State Park postcard inviting him to join him during his route.
“It would be great if we could recreate the scene from Flagstaff where a guy tells Forrest not to step in, you know, but Tom Hanks would play that other man,” Pope said.
Although a major reason that Pope is running is that he just loves running, he is also hoping to raise awareness and money for the charities that he is running for, World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct (USA).
“The character Forrest is amazing. If everyone was a little bit more like Forrest, the world would be a better place,” Pope said.
Delayna Earley: 843-706-8151