HarperNorth signs Pope's Forrest Gump running story

HarperNorth signs Pope's Forrest Gump running story

HarperNorth has acquired Becoming Forrest: One Man’s Epic Run Across America by Rob Pope.

Jonathan de Peyer, senior commissioning editor, acquired world English language rights direct from the author, for publication in hardback, e-book and audio in October 2021. The book is the “remarkable” true story of an unrivalled journey to re-create the greatest run in film history — 15,600 miles, or five times across the United States.

Its author, Liverpudlian Rob Pope, is one of Britain’s best-known ultra-athletes. A vet by trade, he holds the world record for a marathon dressed as a film character and hosts the Red Bull podcast “How to be Superhuman”. He has raised £50,000 for the WWF and Peace Direct.

The publisher said: “Leaving his job in pursuit of a dream, he became the first person ever to complete the epic run undertaken by Forrest Gump in the film: a journey equivalent to running from the North to the South Pole and a third of the way back again. Over a gruelling 18 months, braving injuries, blizzards, forest fires and deadly wildlife, during one of the most turbulent periods in recent American history, Pope ‘immersed himself in American life as he struggled across the country step by step'.”

Pope commented: “I never envisaged writing a book when I first laced up my Nike Cortez, but I did know I was about to embark on a journey more dramatic than I’d ever known. I owed it to the road, the people I met and the sheer beauty of the landscape to chronicle my miles under the American sky. But as every story unfolded, I also felt I had a duty to share these tales with our fractured world: as a message of hope, inspiration and to make people smile. It is an honour to be working with HarperNorth — they not only "got" my story, but I believe “got” me. Maybe it's a Northern thing?”

De Peyer added: “Rob’s enthusiasm and energy is infectious, and this book is a riot of colour, rich in fascinating characters and is great for the armchair traveller, let alone anyone who actually runs. Rob describes himself as naturally a very lazy person, and I suspect the entire exercise was an excuse to eat his bodyweight in donuts and to fully explore America’s craft brewing scene. That he did so with such commitment shows just how different this is to your average running book. Tom Hanks, if you’re out there, do get in touch.”