Listen, I’m a fan of movies; even more so if the main character continuously talks about a box of chocolates… but never, in my entire career of watching these cinematic masterpieces, have I ever been inspired to do this level of cardio. Barclay Oudersluys, a 23 year old Ann Arbor resident, “for no particular reason, decided to go for a little run.” He plans to run across the entire US in 100 days a lá 1994’s Oscar-winning “Forrest Gump”. That’s just a level of dedication I’m not prepared for, I don’t care how great the movie is.
Barclay isn’t just emulating his favorite movie (which is almost as old as he is). He’s doing this to support a cause. Oudersluys is turning his trek into a fundraiser for the Hall Steps Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit movement that works to fight global poverty with better health. They describe themselves a “lifestyle philanthropy that encourages [their] supporters to make a personal commitment to their own health and wellness, using it as a catalyst to ignite change and make a difference in the lives of others.”
On his crowdfunding page, simply titled “Project Gump”, Ourdersluys explains how he plans to help the foundation:
“… About 50k every day for 100 days from LA to Maine. 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.”
Now, this journey won’t be the very specific three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours Forrest spent traversing the country, but 100 days is still a pretty lengthy amount of time. Oudersluys began this epic marathon on May 9 of this year and has raised nearly $6,500 of his $10,000 goal. It also seems unlikely that Oudersluys will amass a small hoard of people following him in his run, but that’s probably because Forrest didn’t have a smartphone to post updates to Twitter from.
The 23 year old has averaged about 31 or 32 miles a day – longer than a marathon, but “that boy sure is a running fool!”
It’s impressive, this thing Oudersluys is doing… I just hope he comes to a complete stop when he reaches his destination and says, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”
You can follow Barclay’s progress on Twitter: @ProjectGump
Quotes, unless otherwise linked, from “Forrest Gump (1994)”