Barclay Oudersluys is nearly three-quarters of the way through Forrest Gump's cross-country run from the Santa Monica Pier in California, to the lighthouse in Rockland, Maine. Oudersluys admits the Tom Hanks movie is a favorite, but his goal is to raise enough money for the Hall Steps Foundation to build a well in Mozambique.
The 23-year-old man from Michigan is on target to finish his 3,200-mile trek in 100 days. "The hardest part is definitely mental," says Oudersluys. He runs for about 32 miles over six hours each day, and sleeps wherever he can rest his head. Sometimes that means in the back of a van driven by his friends, who have trailed him with food, water, and company for segments of the journey. And when he's on his own, he's slept in "a real mix" of places; including a firehouse, five-star hotels, and the homes of strangers.
And what does the diet of a person running 32 miles a day without a home consist of? "I'll take whatever food I can get," he says. "It's not easy to get the fruits and vegetables I would normally like to eat. But I think running as much as I am, I'm just burning through anything," he says.
Oudersluys's charity, the Hall Steps Foundation, is a non-profit founded by professional runners Ryan and Sara Hall that raises money to fight poverty and improve health around the world. Although Oudersluys wasn't affiliated with the Steps Foundation previously, he knew that he wanted to do something big to raise money after finishing his graduate degree. He was inspired by his favorite movie, and then reached out to the foundation with the run in mind.
"When I talked to Sara Hall, she said $10,000 was enough to build a well in Mozambique, so that's what I set my goal at," says Oudersluys. His journey has raised over $6,000 so far, and those who wish to contribute can do so here.
While Oudersluys' next adventure won't be as physically demanding, it's still an impressive feat — the 23-year-old will be attending law school at the University of California, Berkeley in the fall.
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