Runner completes 401 marathons in 401 days challenge

Photo: 401 Challenge Facebook page

Even for an established athlete, 10,506 would be a considerable number of miles to have covered in a running lifetime. However, if you’re Ben Smith, you’d have already finished running that many miles in just over a year. Starting his journey on 1st September last year, yesterday (5th October) Ben crossed the finish line in his home city of Bristol, running the equivalent distance of London to Sydney, completing 401 marathons in 401 days.

Now aged 34, 8 years of Ben’s school life saw him enduring bullying and physical abuse from his peers and he had twice tried to take his own life. He has now fought back against his bullies and raised over £250,000 for anti-bullying charity Kidscape and LGBT equality charity Stonewall, telling local newspaper Barrhead News “The money we're trying to raise is going to support these charities to make sure that what happened to me doesn't happen to anyone else.”

Though he suffered and battled injuries along the way, including a longstanding spinal problem and pain in his kneecaps, heels and shins, Ben Smith was pushed along by hundreds of supporters throughout his journey, including children as young as 5 and even a Jack Russell! ‘I’ve had the privilege of running with more than 9,500 people all round the UK,’ he said. ‘It has been amazing – from areas where I’ve had two or three people out, to where we’ve had 287 out. It’s been the journey of a lifetime.’

Now his subsequent days will see Ben entering his three-month ‘cool down’ – a programme put together by his team following the challenge. It will involve a month of back-to-back half marathons, as well as a month of 10K runs and finishing with a month of daily 5K runs.