An Englishman has completed 42 back-to-back marathons, while looking like Forrest Gump. Ewan Gordon, 42, from Oxfordshire, grew out his hair and beard like the popular movie character to complete the 1,050-mile challenge, running the length of the United Kingdom. The civil servant ran about 26 miles every day for 42 days, from John O'Groats to Land's End. Gordon did the feat in memory of nine-year-old Thomas Laurie, who passed away last year from Cockayne Syndrome, a rare premature ageing disease. Gordon, who has so far raised almost $14,063 for charity, explains to Metro his motivation in doing a mammoth run with a bushy head of hair and beard à la Forrest Gump.
Q: What was your motivation behind the marathon of marathons?
– I had a friend called Thomas Laurie, who had Cockayne Syndrome which causes premature aging in children. Thomas died last year aged 9; I ran in his memory and to raise awareness of the syndrome. I see marathons as the ultimate running test.
Q: Have you always been a keen runner?
– Prior to this run, I had run the London, Brighton, Chester, Loch Ness, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh Marathons. I always wanted to run the end to end, John O'Groats to Lands End.
Q: What did Thomas’s family say to you?
– After Thomas died, his mum prays to him, to lend me his butterfly wings so I can run like the wind blows, just like Forrest Gump.
Q: Why are you dressing as the movie character?
– It started with a conversation about how “I just feel like running”, a friend overheard my plans and suggested I run as Forrest, so I haven't shaved or cut my hair for over a year. I approached Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in London and asked if I could run as Forrest, which they agreed to and the rest is history.
Q: What were people’s reaction when see you running?
– Most people stared at me, some shook their heads as if I was crazy – others were shouting 'Run Forrest Run'. It was great fun and I really enjoyed the feeling. I love my running enormously, but it's better doing it for a great cause.
Q: Did runners join you along the route, as in the film?
– I had a lot of friends join me on the route and occasionally someone would stop and run with me for a chat, which was amazing. I had some lovely friends from home at the finish to see me at the famous signpost at Lands End.
Q: What was the most amazing story happened to you on the way?
– I met a man cycling Lands End to John O'Groats after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He really inspired me that everything is possible if you have the desire to achieve your dreams. I was astonished that he finished it in 17 days.
Q: Was it hard for you to run so much every day?
– Not at all, it's easier than you think, your body gets used to it but you have to be reasonably fit. The hardest thing is putting your trainers on every morning and getting on with it. I was told by a friend, if you can walk to the start, you can run and finish the race.
Q: What are you raising money for?
– I’m raising money for Thomas Laurie's funeral charities, Amy and Friends (Cockayne Syndrome Support), Helen and Douglas House Hospice and ROSY. Also Lifelites, who donate electronic equipment to children's Hospices. It's all about raising awareness of Cockayne Syndrome, a genetic condition which affects 1 in 500,000 children in the world; there are children with CS all over the world and they need the support and care of my charity friends.
Q: What’s next?
– I’m going to cycle the return leg, Lands End to John O'Groats next summer with my nephew Jamie, who will be 16. So I'm going to buy a bicycle. But later this year, I still have three marathons in the UK. I will start running in the U.S. and Europe very soon too.