Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real-Life Forrest Gump Stops in Boise on Cross-Country Trek

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Greg Hamblock stopped in Boise during his 3,000 cross-country trip
  • Tabitha Bower
  • Greg Hamblock stops in Boise today during his 3,000-mile cross-country trip.

Greg Hamblock was spotted pushing a baby stroller packed with supplies through downtown Boise today. But he won't be in town too long. Thursday, July 26, he'll resume his 3,000-mile cross-country trip, which he's hoping to complete by late October.

“I have had many people say they could not do what I am doing, but I think anyone can if the issue is very important to them,” said Hamblock. “I think it’s all about how important the cause is to you.”

Hamblock’s motivation is two children that he met in 2010 while volunteering at a homeless shelter in Louisiana. After becoming a mentor to now 8-year-old Chris and 5-year-old Megan, Hamblock was struck with the urge to help them in some way.

“I decided in January of 2011 that I wanted to put them in private school,” Hamblock told Citydesk. “It was January of this year that I decided I wanted to do this by running.”

Just more than a month ago, Hamblock began his cross-country run for a cause in Neah Bay, Wash., planning to raise $60,000 in the process of his trek to Miami, Florida. You can follow his progress on his website.

According to Hamblock, the children’s current school is all too familiar with gang-related violence, and he believes that giving Chris and Megan a safe outlet for learning is a cause worth backing.

“Their mother is very excited because she knows it is beyond her ability to bring them there,” Hamblock said.

With 87 days left in his initially planned trip, Hamblock has raised nearly $3,500 for Chris and Megan’s education. While admittedly not being quite as far along as he had planned, Hamblock is staying optimistic.

“Each month, I know my distance will go farther,” he said. “I don’t know if I will finish in four months and a week like originally planned, but I do know that I will be able to finish.”

Hamblock has faced many obstacles on his journey thus far. While notable bumps in the road have included everything from acclimating to running, run-ins with black bears, swollen ankles and high temperatures, Hamblock said the most stressful part of the day is finding a spot to camp.

“I don’t stop running until it about 9 p.m. because it has to be almost dark,” said Hamblock. “I don’t want people to see where I’m at.”

Playing this real-life game of hide-and-seek, finding solace behind sage bushes or within national forests for the night is only the last step of a very long day for Hamblock. Just after dawn, he begins the hour-long process of wrapping his feet and ankles and packing up camp before beginning his 12- to 15-hour daily journey, which usually begins at a walking pace. Hamblock stops twice daily for meals, and twice a week for hotel accommodations.

“It is not so much for my mental health as it is for a personal hygiene perspective,” Hamblock said.

Hamblock pushes a baby stroller fully equipped with everything he will need while on the road. Contents include tarps, sleeping bags, water jugs, a solar charger, water filter, food, clothes, bug spray, a couple of books and a GPS transponder.

Throughout his trip, Hamblock has been taken aback by the hospitality and caring nature of the people he has come in contact with.

“I have had so many people stop and give me food, water or money with very little question as to anything,” he said. “I have been really amazed at the good hearts of people.”

Hamblock will be spending his second night in Boise tonight and continuing his trip in the morning, setting out for Salt Lake City.

“I think what keeps me grounded is just not thinking too far ahead,” Hamblock said. “The big picture is really overwhelming.”

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