By Aliki Kraterou
A dad-of-one is set to take part in a Sahara Desert ultra-marathon dubbed the hardest race in the world – dressed as FORREST GUMP.
Rob Pope, 40, has been running dressed as Tom Hanks’ iconic film character since 2001 to raise awareness for charities WWF and Peace Direct.
But now Rob, from Liverpool, is set to take on his hardest challenge yet – the 156-mile Marathon Des Sables, known as the toughest footrace on the planet.
And despite having only four weeks of training under his belt due to an injury, veterinarian Rob insisted he will enjoy the experience.
Guinness World Record holder Rob, who previously ran 15,700 miles across the US in 2016, said: “I first got the idea of dressing as Forrest Gump, as he was a character who is loved by everyone.
“In the film you realise the amazing things he has done and the incredible strength he has – and he doesn’t complain once.
“I am really excited to take part but I am also a little bit sad because I only trained for four weeks, while usually people train for this race for six months.
“I will try to enjoy it though, for me the most important thing is to take part and finish and run as fast as I can.”
One of the marathon’s requirement is for the participants to carry all their food and equipment as it takes place in one of the world’s most inhospitable places, with the temperature rising to more than 40 degrees Celsius.
The race begins this Sunday [April 7] with Rob set to return to fiance Nadine Strawbridge and one-year-old daughter Bee in the UK on April 15.
He previously raised £37,000 for charity during his run across 43 states of the US, which took 422 days and 15,607 miles before proposing to long-term girlfriend Nadine at the finish line.
Rob added: “This new challenge is a continuation of me trying to raise awareness for causes I care about.
“I think Forrest Gump – and specifically the character of Forrest – is a beautiful tale of life and how we should treat one another.
“Forrest didn’t judge anyone, not on the colour of their skin, background, intelligence or anything else.
“If everyone could be a bit more like Forrest, the world would be a better place.
“Doing this is my attempt to make a difference.
“I haven’t heard from Tom yet, but he’s an absolute hero of mine, so I’d love to hear from him.”
For more information check: http://www.goingthedistancerun.com/