Ben Smith

401 Challenge Ben Running

401 marathons in 401 days

When we first met Ben, we couldn’t quite believe what he planned to do for Kidscape and Stonewall. Ben ran the equivalent distance of 401 marathons in 401 days over 2015 and 2016 to raise awareness of bullying and fundraise for us and LGBT charity Stonewall. He raised over £300,000 in total for the two charities and shared his story with thousands of people across the UK. We are in awe of him and are delighted that he has now joined Kidscape as one of our ambassadors.

Ben’s achievements have been rewarded with many awards, including Pride of Britain’s Fundraiser of the Year Award, a Points of Light award from Downing Street and the 2016 Helen Rollason BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Homophobic bullying

After being subjected to homophobic bullying and physical abuse at boarding school, Ben twice tried to take his own life and later on suffered a TIA (mini-stroke) at 29 which in part he attributes to the way he had been treated for years as a teenager.

During recovery, he was encouraged to join a running club by a friend and found that it helped him regain both physical and mental health. After coming out as gay and publicly acknowledging the feelings he had believed he had to keep hidden as a teenager, Ben wanted to do something to raise awareness of the damage that bullying can do as well as raise money to support charities working in this area.

Ben is a complete inspiration - not only did he change his own life, he has inspired so many, offered support to young people who are facing difficulty and didn’t give up. The money he has raised for Kidscape will help so many young people and their families. If anyone is going to inspire you to get involved and do something for Kidscape, we imagine there is hardly anyone more inspirational than Ben.

Ben says:

“Having been bullied myself, I know first hand the devastating effects it can have on a person and their family. Working alongside Kidscape during the 401 Challenge inspired me to accept their offer of becoming an ambassador. I can’t think of a charity I would want to work with more, together we can help bring awareness and affect real change, inspire young children and adults to celebrate difference and accept each other for who we are. I am honoured to be a Kidscape ambassador.”

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