Man running 20,000 miles across America to inspire kids to exercise

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DENVER -- It's hard for some people to imagine trying to run a marathon.

Jim "Gump" as many people are calling him runs nearly the equivalent of a marathon every day.

And he's making that sacrifice after coming here from England to promote healthy kids and lifestyles.

While making a stop in Denver, he took a little side trip up more than 1,000 stairs and 56 flights inside Republic Plaza, the city’s tallest building.

He was joined by about 2,000 other people for American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association is a fantastic cause very much in keeping with what I'm trying to do," said 48-year-old Jim Plunkett Cole.

"This a huge deal for us. Over $300,000 comes in today,” said the Lung Association’s executive director Ellen Penrod.

Inspired by Forrest Gump's fictional movie run across America, Cole decided to do it in real life.

"Use a very famous iconic film to raise the profile of what I'm actually trying to achieve which is to get kids active," he said.

He is running 20,000 miles across America, three or four times crossing the country, over 1,172 days running at least 17 miles every day.

Along the way, Cole is speaking to thousands of children in schools hoping to encourage an entire generation of young children into daily physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

"Every school I visit gives me a bit more motivation for carrying on this is a tough challenge," Cole said.

Even as more schools cut back on physical education programs.

Averaging 22 miles a day, Cole is s running through Colorado carrying that simple idea for kids to be active.

He started running in England to inspire others three years ago, even as he worked full time

"Trying to show people now matter how much time pressure you've got you can always find a little bit of time in your day to do something active," he said.

He’ll be surpassing a total of 24,000 miles, the circumference of the Earth counting those earlier consecutive runs, sometime next year and hopes to be the first to continuously run 30,000 miles.