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Meet the man who is running 401 marathons in 401 days

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Ben Smith talks to us about his mammoth marathon challenge: 401 marathons in 401 days to raise £250,000 for Stonewall and Kidscape.

I was bullied for eight years at school and it has always affected my life, even if I tried hard not to let it. It lead me to a nervous breakdown and then to trying to take my own life twice. After years of therapy and coming to terms with what happened to me at school I have finally dealt with this and can look upon the experiences as an opportunity to spread the word and help children deal with similar situations.

On the 1st September 2015 I began one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I am going to run 401 marathons in 401 days to raise £250,000 for two amazing charities: Stonewall and Kidscape. Both of these charities work tirelessly to support award winning initiatives which really get to the heart of bullying in UK schools.

The 401 Challenge: fun facts

  • Just over 10,506 miles will be run throughout the challenge, which is the equivalent distance between London and Sydney.
  • Total expected running time of around 2,000 hours.
  • 250 running clubs involved throughout the UK in planning routes for 309 different locations, from Lands' End to John O' Groats.
  • Expected calorie burn is approximately 2.4 million throughout the whole event.
  • Around 19 pairs of trainers will be worn, changing every three weeks.
  • Schools up and down the country will be visited and have a chance to get involved in the challenge through bullying related workshop and presentations given to their students.

401 Challenge Ben Running

Collaborative approach

The aim of the challenge is to raise awareness surrounding the issues of bullying in the UK. With a collaborative approach to planning this challenge, the involvement of the charities involved, running clubs and the use of social media, we have already started to spread the word with fantastic engagement and passion already being shown in the challenge.

Each marathon that I run will involve people throughout the country; be that as a fellow runner joining in, a novice wanting to run some of the distance to keep fit, or simply as a donor to the event. All in all this will spread the word that bullying in today's society is not welcome and doesn't have to form part of life.

This project has already inspired many people to get involved - are you one of them?

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