In the event’s tenth edition, which took place in September 2022, Patagonian International Marathon® had a very special guest: Antonio Marshall… or better known as “Chilean Forrest Gump,” who competed in the 21K alongside almost 400 runners from all around the world. The character’s participation caught the attention of his peers, who enjoyed one of the many anecdotes that this race has provided us with over the past decade.
The “Chilean Forrest Gump” traveled from the Metropolitan Region to Magallanes with a red cap, a checkered shirt, light-colored pants, a 1950’s leather briefcase and the same sneakers worn by Tom Hanks’ character from the classic 1994 movie. People on the streets of Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales cheered him on and asked him for pictures.
Antonio Marshall aka (Forrest Gump) Running the 2022 Patagonian International Marathon®
The character’s journey also generated curiosity amongst the media. BioBioChile published the article “The moving campaign of the Chilean Forrest Gump will spread to Patagonia”. In the article, Antonio Marshall explained that his primary motivation is to raise awareness about bullying.
“There are many children with different capacities, with Down syndrome, with Asperger’s or those that are on the autism spectrum, who are twice as invisible in the eyes of society because their behavior is not understood. He additionally pointed out that “we are in times of crisis and this character tries to transmit values: solidarity, inclusion, empathy and respect.” With his presence at this historic event in Torres del Paine National Park, he sought to provide greater visibility to his noble dream.
The day of the race was revolutionized by the presence of “Chilean Forrest Gump,” who started the race from Mirador Nordenskjöld at such a speed that he quickly emerged as the leader of the pack. Thus, without needing to search for him, the photographers were able to capture a carbon copy of the iconic movie scene, where the character appears accompanied by hundreds of people following him along the road.
The newspaper ‘Las Últimas Noticias’ (The Latest News) dedicated a whole page to shine light on the subject: “The image draws comparison to that of the film,” the news outlet wrote. In the interview, the “Chilean Forrest Gump” stated, “I was so charged with energy, due to the people, that when I started, in the first 300 meters or so, I began as if I was a sprinter in the 100-meter dash. Nobody gave me any advantage or anything like that, the start was all due to lung capacity and that’s why I look so far ahead in the photo.”
Our Forrest Gump was also asked for selfies along the way as well as at the finish line, graciously stopping to chat with each person who came in contact with him. His presence caused a stir, both among the Chilean participants and among the foreigners who came from 40 countries around the world. Finally, amongst cameras and applause, the character completed the half-marathon in 3 hours and 4 minutes.
The 2023 version of Patagonian International Marathon®, which will take place on Saturday, 9 September, will once again feature the “Chilean Forrest Gump” as one of its participants. The motivated runner will repeat his trip to Magallanes and compete once again in the 21K.
The event will add more anecdotes and you can be a part of them. Registration is open and you can follow all of the news via our Instagram @patagonianmarathon.