There's A Real Life Forrest Gump Running Across America Right Now

Run, Barclay, Run! Barclay Oudersluys finishes his 3,200-mile trek on the famed wooden walkway of the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine.(Photo: submitted)

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Barclay Oudersluys is ‘Gump-free.’

The 2010 Seaholm High School graduate completed his summer-long quest Saturday, in which he ran over 3,000 miles from California's Santa Monica Yacht Harbor and Pier to the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine. He finished the trip in 99 days, one day ahead of schedule.

“Made it,” Oudersluys said in a phone interview right before he reached his final destination point. “Got a bit of a calf strain right now … and my feet and legs are sore. But nothing more than what you’d expect.”

Oudersluys, 23, is a huge fan of the movie Forrest Gump and decided almost on a whim that he would retrace the same route his favorite fictional character ran in the 1994 blockbuster. After competing in a few local marathons, off he ran.

In the movie, Forrest Gump jogs across America to the tune of Running on Empty by Jackson Browne. The whole scene takes about seven minutes and looks like a lot of fun. Oudersluys admits his journey across the country was a bit more routine.

Each morning he woke up early, ate a little breakfast and jogged for several hours. He took a break. And jogged some more.

“A lot of it is pretty similar,” he said of America. “You think you’re going 3,000 miles and there’s going to be big changes, but it wasn’t that different from one place to another. In a lot of the small towns there was a gas station, a couple of stores and a bar. In the bigger ones, you’d also find a McDonald’s or Walmart store.”

>Run, Barclay, run! Real-life Forrest Gump runner is halfway across America

If the landscape looked the same, the people made the difference. Oudersluys spoke of the many families who gave him a place to stay for the night and sent him on with more food than he could eat. Plus, there were the thousands of followers who tracked his journey through the social media.

Charles Ticknor of Pennsylvania was one of the folks who followed Oudersluys right out of the gate.

Ticknor was born in 1926, joined the Navy at the age of 17 and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. He returned to Pennsylvania and worked in the mines after the war. He then got a job as a repair man for Coca-Cola before starting his own business in 1970, leasing out ice machines.

“I didn’t have much education,” Ticknor said. “I went to a little red schoolhouse with 64 kids, eight grades and one teacher. Like a fellow said some time ago, ‘You’re older than dirt ...’”

In completing Project Gump, the name he gave his trip, Oudersluys surpassed his goal of raising $10,000 for the Hall Steps Foundation, a global nonprofit that fights poverty through better health. He plans to recharge for a few days back in Michigan before driving out west, where he’ll start law school at the University of California Berkeley.

In the end, he went through six pairs of running shoes and a lot of Pop Tarts – his favorite snack. He ran about 30 miles a day, regardless of the weather. It’s doubtful he’ll ever look at the seven-minute running scene in Forrest Gump the same way.

“It’s kind of hard to connect with the movie when you’re actually doing it,” Oudersluys said. “It takes a long time and a lot of work … there’s going to be people who haven’t done it and they’re going to say it was worth it, but you don’t know until you experienced it.”

jgrossman@hometownlife.com | 586-826-7030 Twitter: @BhmEccentric


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Source : http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/birmingham/2015/08/17/made-real-life-forrest-gump-finishes-run-across-america/31890109/

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