Jim Gump is on an incredible mission. He has already run nearly 14,000 miles (10,000 in the UK and 4,000 in the US), covering an average of 22 miles per day! This remarkable quest will eventually see him run 30,000 miles (and he has hinted he may not stop at that!).
Jim’s running isn’t without purpose. In fact, every mile he puts on the clock is in an effort to raise awareness of obesity among children and inspire kids worldwide to live a healthier, more active life.
Jim is an amazing human being and was awarded our “Athlete Of The Year” in 2016. As he continues his emphatic run around the US, we caught up with him for a quick interview last week. Here’s what he had to say:
You are running a ridiculous amount of mileage, the sort of mileage that would put cars through a few services! How did you come up with the idea, what inspired you?
I was inspired by London 2012 Olympics initially and just running a 10k every day for 2013. I kept running through 2014, then did a triathlon every day for 2015. Now I’m doing the Forrest Gump run for real with school visits along the way to encourage daily activity in children.
What’s your current mileage?
A minimum of 121 miles per week but the average is 154 miles a week so far in the US. I average 22 miles per day.
People over there are loving your story. How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel pretty good, a bit like the reddy Brek kid with a warm glow! It is hard work. My days are long and often stressful so as to cram everything in. But, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I am a bit of a robot, though. So emotion doesn’t really come into it, at least from the adult perspective anyhow. The times I feel best are generally when I see the facial expressions of the children in reaction to my stories and photos of the dog and I.
Your run could raise awareness about any cause or issue – why choose obesity?
I didn’t really choose obesity if I am honest. Obesity chose my challenge. It’s hard to explain. I’m basically encouraging all children to be active for life. Whether they have weight issues or not. It was the media who really picked up on the obesity issue.
For me, all children and adults benefit from being a little active every day, mentally and physically.
It’s our design, as hunter-gatherers, to be active every day, and from an early age too. We have lived through 200,000 years of being homo sapien, it’s the human timeline. Almost all of which was spent hunting and gathering and being active.
What’s been your favourite town/city to run through so far and why?
A town called Big Spring in Texas. People there loved what I was doing there. However, I’ve just started my Colorado tour and it seems the people here are really wonderful too.
Have you recovered from your knee injury? Any fresh injuries?
Yes. Fully recovered. Sometimes I wish they wouldn’t recover so I had an excuse to stop. So far, however, I keep bloody well recovering. I get injuries a lot. But the body has great recovery mechanisms. Part of what I’m doing is to demonstrate just how great they are.
What do you miss from life in England?
My mum died and my dog died. That leaves my daughter Hannah, a good Sunday Roast and decent marmalade as the only things I ‘miss’.
What’s your plan for the coming month?
March is the coming month. I have pretty much run out of visa, time and money. So, my plans are basically based around keeping the Jim Gump project alive somehow, wherever that might be. I have ideas, though. Ideas and opportunities. I always make sure I have these.
You inspire so many, and your fan base is growing steadily but who inspires you and why?
The children’s reaction to my visit is the main inspiration. Though I’m also inspired by London 2012, Coe and Ovett, and astronauts.
Ever wanted to give up?
The lack of funding suggests to me that, actually, people just aren’t that interested in what I’m trying to do. It is this which makes me feel like stopping and nothing else.
You can support Jim here – https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/jimgump/
What can you say that you haven’t said before?
Well, the JimGump project is the best thing I’ve ever done. It is, along with the Kx365 initiative for adults, something that I truly believe is making an impact on society.
However, if the world ain’t ready for it then the world ain’t ready for it. I have to accept that, and maybe wait until it is ready.
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