Real-life Forrest Gump has been running 20 miles a day for three decades

By Kiri Blakeley

Keith Boissiere, known as the 'running man' in Baltimore, starts his daily 20-mile trek. Photo / Getty Images
Keith Boissiere, known as the 'running man' in Baltimore, starts his daily 20-mile trek. Photo / Getty Images

A real-life Forrest Gump has run on average 20 miles a day for the past three decades as he fights numerous health problems, including kidney disease.

Keith Boissiere, 64, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, has become famous in his adopted city of Baltimore for his determined almost-daily four-hour runs through the streets, no matter the weather, reports DailyMail.

At one point, he was able to run every single day for 12 and a half years straight.
"I've been through blizzards, ice storms, heat waves, everything just to keep the streak," he told the Baltimore Sun's Darkroom. He has to buy a new pair of sneakers every few months.

Once, he ran seven hours from Baltimore to Washington, DC.

While Baltimore has the second highest murder rate in the nation, trailing St. Louis, Boissiere doesn't let that stop him from trekking through some of the worst neighborhoods.

"I just go on the assumption that if I don't bother them, they won't bother me," he said.

However, since he was attacked by two people in 2014, he only runs during the day.

"It was down right nasty, they jumped out of the car [and beat me up]," he said.

People know the running man in Baltimore, and often wave, try to take pictures, or even calling him 'Black Jesus'. Photo / Getty Images
People know the running man in Baltimore, and often wave, try to take pictures, or even calling him 'Black Jesus'. Photo / Getty Images

But his biggest challenge came in 2008, when his health suddenly dramatically declined. "I couldn't breathe, I didn't know what was going on," he said.

With no health insurance, he didn't try to get treatment until "I was nearly dead."

He eventually went to the hospital and was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate gland.

The health nut tries to keep healthy and active with his running lifestyle and veganism despite serious health problems. Photo / Getty Images
The health nut tries to keep healthy and active with his running lifestyle and veganism despite serious health problems. Photo / Getty Images

Because it had gone untreated for so long, he now had a host of health problems, including Stage 4 of Chronic Kidney Disease.

He had to go on Medicaid and food stamps.

Rather than let this beat him, Boissiere, who is on the list for a kidney donor, continued his commitment to running. His doctors even encouraged it, saying it would help his health.

"I was always the type that liked to be improving and I figured if I stopped that I would rust," he told the outlet.

On a weathered rope, keys dangle off the wrist of Keith Boissiere as he stretches following a run. Photo / Getty Images
On a weathered rope, keys dangle off the wrist of Keith Boissiere as he stretches following a run. Photo / Getty Images

With no wife or children or close relatives, Boissiere lives a simple life of reading and veganism, and doesn't own a phone or computer.

He lives on the border of Harlem Park and Sandtown-Winchester, a neighborhood that saw riots in the wake of the Freddy Gray death.

Despite becoming well-known in Balitmore, the running man tries to discourage people from taking his picture by often wearing a knitted hoodie pulled up around his face.

'Fitness of the body, fitness of the mind, and understanding and leaning what the whole world is about' he says. Photo / Getty Images
'Fitness of the body, fitness of the mind, and understanding and leaning what the whole world is about' he says. Photo / Getty Images

He is a voracious reader who believes in not only taking care of his body, but his mind.

"Fitness of the body, fitness of the mind, and understanding and learning what the whole world is about," he said is his goal.

He refuses to try to cash in on his local fame - demonstrated by the crowds who wave to him, try to snap his picture, or even call him "Black Jesus" - or by running marathons or cinching sponsorship deals.

"When you're competing you're trying to impress people, I have nobody to impress but myself," he said.

- Daily Mail

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