On May 9, Barclay Oudersluys took off running from the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor and Pier in California and, in the words of Forrest Gump, "just kept on going."
The 23-year-old is now a few weeks into a coast-to-coast run that will find him retracing the route sketched out by Forrest Gump in the beloved 1994 hit of the same name. In an interview, Oudersluys said he took on the epic 3,200-mile journey as a bit of adventure.
"I was at the University of Michigan, and I was on a run there one day, bored, and I tried to come up with something big to do and decided to run across the country," he said. "I’m out here just having fun."
More than just a personal challenge, Oudersluys is also taking advantage of his growing fame to raise money for the STEPS Foundation, an organization that fights poverty around the world by promoting good health. "Along the way I will try to talk to people I meet to spread the word of their charity and collect donations to support them," he writes on his Project Gump site.
Much like Forrest Gump encountered in the film, Oudersluys is already receiving offers from people interested in joining him on certain legs of the run. His goal is to finish on Aug. 16 at Marshall Point Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine with $10,000 in donations to give to the STEPS Foundation.
Oudersluys estimates that to complete the journey in 100 days, he'll need to run an average of 30 miles a day, consuming foods such as bagels with peanut butter, pineapple smoothies, and oatmeal with brown sugar, almonds, raisins and chia seeds.
"And for any other meals, I’m not too picky, I just like to have a whole-grain starch (bread, pasta, brown rice), a protein (usually poultry or fish), and a vegetable," he writes. "I don’t have too many rules, I just like to keep it simple so that’s what I’d like to do on the road."
To follow Oudersluys' progress online, check out his official Project Gump site here.
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