Forrest Gump’s iconic cross-country run was among the most inspiring moments in the movie, but how long did it last, and what route did he take?

In Forrest Gump, the title character’s iconic run saw him cross the United States while inspiring millions along the way, but what was his route, and how long did it take? Released in 1994 to critical and commercial fanfare, Forrest Gump depicts the story of one man’s simple life as he stumbles his way through the most important parts of American history in the second half of the 20th century. Acting essentially as the climax of the movie, Forrest Gump’s cross-country run solidified itself as an important part of popular culture.


Forrest Gump’s seemingly impossible feat is one of the many whimsical aspects of the beloved movie, but its script was rather vague on the specifics. While his trek is meant to offer another lesson learned from Forrest Gump, the technical details of his run have become a source of speculation since the movie’s release. Though Forrest Gump doesn’t provide all the details of his run, key clues are revealed that illuminate his route and shed a light on exactly where he ran and how long it took him to do it. With so few movies about running, Forrest’s adventure even inspired people in the real world to try it out.

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Forrest Gump’s Run Took 3 Years, 2 Months, 14 Days, & 16 Hours

Forrest Gump begins running in Forrest Gump

One of the few details the movie does reveal about Forrest Gump’s run is that it lasts for almost three-and-a-quarter years (exact time: three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours) before calling it quits. While his revelation that he’s tired and ready to go home is a brilliant punchline, it also shows just how exhausted Forrest must’ve been after such a long and harrowing journey. Symbolically, the historical events in Forrest Gump and the moments of his life are like a long and arduous run, and the conclusion of his trek is also his way of saying he’s ready to settle down and stop stumbling through important moments.

Forrest’s Route Saw Him Cross The United States 5 Times

Forrest stops on his run with a crowd behind him in Forrest Gump

Based on the stops he makes along the way and visual clues given in scenes where he’s seen running, Marathon Handbook was able to piece together Forrest Gump’s route and estimate how many miles he traveled based on a usual runner’s data. Forrest Gump shows him depart from Alabama and head west toward Mississippi, and the first place he stops is Santa Monica in California. He’s then seen near a lighthouse in the northeastern region of the U.S. before crossing back to the west coast again. He then is seen on the East Coast again before finally calling it quits in Monument Valley, Arizona.

Though the Forrest Gump novel is very different from the movie, the iconic run is a part of both, and it amounts to over 15,000 miles according to the data given in the adaptation. Interestingly enough, as reported by The Guardian, a runner named Rob Pope recreated Forrest’s run and actually completed the once-thought-impossible journey in 2018. Forrest Gump was a critical darling when it was released, and it won a slew of awards, but the impact of its protagonist’s trip stretched far beyond the confines of a movie screen and has had an effect on the real-world sport of long-distance running.

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