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Michigan runner trying to cross America in 100 days

Jul 14, 2015

It's a key scene in one of the most beloved American films –the moment when Forrest Gump starts running.

Barclay Oudersluys, 23, of Birmingham, has decided to do for real what Tom Hanks pretended to do on film. He is running across America.

It’s called Project Gump and Oudersluys is doing it to raise $10,000 for the Hall Steps Foundation. He hopes the money will go to help build a well in Mozambique. 

In May, his journey began at the Santa Monica Pier in California and he’s headed to Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine. That’s 14 states and almost 3,200 miles. 

In the movie, Forrest Gump attracted a crowd of disciples who ran with him. Oudersluys say people are not flocking to him, but he does have plenty of followers.

“I do have some people who contacted me and friends and strangers who wanted to meet up with me while I ran through their town, so I’ve met up with some of them.”

He says one of the most surprising sights on his run so far have been zebras on a ranch in Colorado. "Definitely not an animal I expected to see, but that was pretty cool."

Oudersluys has been running about 30 miles a day. He hopes to end his run on August 16.

"Mentally it's very difficult to, like, get myself – when I'm exhausted – to get myself out and start running. It's tough."

To follow Oudersluys and to get more information on Project Gump you can visit his website.