One day, Forrest just started running. He ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours. He slept, when he needed to, he ate when he was hungry and he went to, you know, when he needed to.

How far did he run during this time?

  • Given that he was supposed to be mentally challenged, that all he did was eat, sleep, and runm and that he "just felt like it." It seems unlikely that he had any reason (if even the ability) to count the days minutes and hours. Also, he had to use an ATM frequently unless people gave him food for free. Finally, he was running slow enough for a lot of groupies to keep up with him.
    – WGroleau
    Aug 28, 2018 at 17:48
  • 6
    You forgot that when he had to go, he went.
    – MooseBoys
    Aug 28, 2018 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


Based on different information given in the film and in the script and on filming locations, the site Centives calculated that Forrest Gump ran 15248 miles (24539 km), crossing the United States five times, before he decided to go home.

map of USA showing where Forrest ran

Another estimation can be found on theweek.com. It totals 19024 miles (30616 km). The route of the first two years looks like this

Another USA map showing Forrest's route

Which is close to the route shown in the film:

still from the film, with television showing newscaster with Forrest's route displayed behind her

  • 5
    Given the time he took and the estimated distance from the source, that makes for a rather meager (in terms of running) 0.8735 km/h average speed, or about 21 km (13 miles) per day. Over the course of 3 years this is, of course, quite a distance.
    – Ian
    Aug 27, 2018 at 14:40
  • 2
    @xLeitix I guess it's behind the J marker. Aug 27, 2018 at 14:41
  • 4
    @Ian I am tempted to ask a follow-up question whether this is in any way realistic.
    – xLeitix
    Aug 27, 2018 at 15:01
  • 2
    @xLeitix Terry Fox averaged 23 miles per day and he only had one leg. So it is probably realistic in that it is plausible for Gump to run that much. Though another runner could have run more.
    – Brad
    Aug 27, 2018 at 17:55
  • 2
    @xLeitix Many dedicated runners and marathoners train 10-15 miles per day year-round for years on end in their spare time. Cross-USA record attempts cover 60+ miles per day. If anything, these estimates might be unrealistically low -- what was he doing the rest of the time if only running 3-5 hours per day?
    – usul
    Aug 27, 2018 at 19:10

This is a trick question because either he lied about how long he run or was unintentionally confused.

Forrest supposedly started running when Jimmy Carter collapsed (that possible heart attack scare) while running his six mile race in October (I think it was on the 1st), 1979; and he stopped when Ronald Reagan assassination attempt took place on March 21, 1981. That's not even one and a half a year, and considerably shorter than 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours.

  • 1
    I don't know why this was downvoted, unless it's actually inaccurate. I don't remember the film well enough to tell.
    – Wildcard
    Aug 28, 2018 at 6:26
  • 6
    @Wildcard the start date is supported by the same source that the other, highly upvoted answer uses. As for the end date, going by Wikipedia, the end date is almost certainly in or before 1981 (Wiki says: 'Back to the present (the "present" in the film being 1981, as seen from a car and on a bus, and televised footage of Ronald Reagan's escape from assassination), ...'). But even if Gump lied or misremembered the duration, IMO that doesn't affect how the question of distance should be answered.
    – muru
    Aug 28, 2018 at 7:26
  • 1
    @muru Answering the questions depends on a host of suppositions so there is no logical answer that all will agree on - you might just as well argue instead over the maximum number of angels that might fit on the tip of a pin. Such problems then, rather than being dismissed, automatically assume existence of angels in physical forms. Then should you divide that distance into 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours or into around 18 months? With the latter, the average daily distance more than doubles, turning the overall distance into the impossible angels. The book author's error. Aug 28, 2018 at 16:06
  • 2
    This doesn't answer how far Gump ran, only for how long.
    – JAD
    Aug 30, 2018 at 8:24

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