Anyone who knows me knows Forrest Gump is my all-time favorite movie. I love when he’s just sitting on his porch staring into space and starts running in a button-down shirt and khaki pants. He certainly didn’t plan on running cross-country in those khakis, but in that moment I marveled at his drive to just get up and run that far. Of course the hero in this story differs from that of Forrest Gump since he’s not a fictitious character and that he wears actual running shorts, but the world is now referring to Pete Kostelnick as the “Real-Life Forrest Gump.”
29-year-old Kostelnick is a man whose story serves as a living testament to the human spirit. This week, he finished a run spanning 3,100 miles from San Francisco to New York City with a world record time of 42 days, 6 hours, and 30 minutes. That is an average of 72 miles per day. To put that into perspective, it takes the average person 7-10 minutes to run a mile. Multiply that by 72 and that person is running 8-12 hours per day for 42 days straight.
He shattered the previous world record by 4 days, which has been held by Frank Giannino since 1980. Giannino was such a good sport too, he waited for Pete to finish this epic run and upon completion, he shook his hand and said “Congratulations, brother.”
The most amazing part of all this is Kostelnick did not grow up a runner, he took up running after college because he wanted to lose weight. A few marathons and ultramarathons later and he makes the craziest statement of his life “I’m going to go for the transcontinental record.” And he did just that. This amazing feat is currently in the process of being certified by Guinness World Records.
As a runner, I’m blown away by the drive of Pete Kostelnick. His undying drive reminds me that of the late Track Olympian Steve Prefontaine, who once said “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Well, Pete gave his best and he did something only a handful of people have done, but to do it that quickly is absolutely extraordinary. So congratulations Pete, Forrest Gump would be proud.