“German Forrest Gump” Robby Clemens visits AGCO
Robby Clemens, known as the "German Forrest Gump," is underway on his biggest adventure from the North to the South Pole. AGCO has supported Robby from the beginning and recently had the pleasure of welcoming him to our global headquarters in Duluth, Georgia to hear the latest on his exceptional story.
“German Forrest Gump” Robby Clemens visits AGCORobby Clemens, known as the "German Forrest Gump," is underway on his biggest adventure from the North to the South Pole. AGCO has supported Robby from the beginning and recently had the pleasure of welcoming him to our global headquarters in Duluth, Georgia to hear the latest on his exceptional story.
Chances are, you’ve heard of Forrest Gump. Most love the film’s inspiring story, particularly the main character’s three and a half year run across the U.S. to overcome a personal crisis. His real life equivalent, aptly known as the “German Forrest Gump,” Robby Clemens, is currently on an equally, if not even more spectacular run. Robby is walking and running from the North to the South Pole, which will take him approximately two years from start to finish.
AGCO is a proud supporter of his adventure, and we were delighted that Robby was able to stop by the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) in Atlanta, Georgia and our headquarters in Duluth, Georgia as part of his journey.
AGCO has played a major part in Robby’s adventure, since he trained at AGCO Hohenmölsen GmbH, where Fendt machinery is manufactured, in his home town in Germany. Exercises like pulling tractor tires behind him were a great way to prepare him for the heavy sled that had to be pulled through Greenland’s beautiful ice – covered landscape, for example. After completing his training, the AGCO employees and friends at the factory gave him a Fendt Katana forage harvester ignition key as a lucky charm from his hometown and training site, which he was to eventually deliver to the AGCO headquarters in Duluth, Georgia.
On Wednesday, August 16th, which is also Robby’s birthday, we welcomed him and his wife Bärbel to the GACC in Atlanta and were able to hear his inspiring story.
It all started in the former Eastern German Democratic Republic (DDR), where Robby grew up. As he explained during his talk, he was able to acquire a company in 1986, which later employed over 100 people. Several years after the German reunification in 1990, his company went bankrupt. This personal crisis drove him into a deep depression and alcohol addiction. Robby was considering therapy, but a friend suggested running.
Robby managed to run only half a lap around his local track. Two weeks later he ran what he calls his first marathon, which was two laps around the track. Ever since, running has been Robby’s life. He has participated in many charity events, such as his run from Basra, Iraq to Bagdad in 2003 to raise money for children injured in the war. Before starting his two year journey to the South Pole, his biggest adventure was the World Run in 2007, where Robby ran through 27 countries on 4 continents around the world in 311 days.
This trip sparked his hunger for adventure, culminating in his current journey from North to South Pole. It all started earlier this year, when he flew from Norway to the North Pole to participate in a marathon. After that, it was off to Greenland, which he crossed in 30 days. He explained how his group of adventure athletes and two Norwegian guides had to pull 90 kg sleds up and down the icy hills of Greenland.
After crossing Greenland, Robby went on to fly to Montreal, from where he walked to Boston. Then, he was off to New York City, where he had the opportunity to meet the world famous rock band Rammstein. The highlight of this encounter was their spontaneous karaoke performance of Frank Schöbel’s “Ich geh vom Nordpol zum Südpol” (I am walking from the North Pole to the South Pole) which is a German folk song from 1973!
Next on his itinerary was Philadelphia, where he ran up the famous steps from the Rocky movies, then Washington, D.C., and finally Atlanta. After his presentation at the GACC, Josip Tomasevic, AGCO Vice President of Global Purchasing and Materials, personally welcomed him to Atlanta and invited Robby to visit the AGCO headquarters in Duluth.
On Friday, the 18th of August, Robby and his wife Bärbel were welcomed by Josip Tomasevic and AGCO employees at the main entrance. After a group photo shoot, Josip and Robby were about to complete the hand-over of the key, when an idea sprung. Since the key had already made it to the North Pole, it might as well also travel to the South Pole! A new deal was made, and the key is now to return to Duluth in January 2019 after the completion of Robby’s journey from the North to the South Pole.
His next stop is New Orleans, then Houston and Dallas where Robby will run with Tom Hanks for part of his trip! Afterwards, Robby and the key will make their way through to Mexico and then all the way down to Argentina until he reaches the South Pole. We at AGCO wish Robby all the best with his endeavors, including our Chairman, President and CEO Martin H. Richenhagen, who met with him after the photo shoot and wished him “Viel Erfolg auf dem schweren Weg zum Südpol!” (Translation: Great success on your journey to the South Pole!)