Update from 401 Challenge

UPDATE: Ben is now back on the road after taking ten days off. He has assured us he's fit and well enough to carry on. We're sending him our love as always!

We'd like to share this statement from Ben Smith, who has been raising funds and awareness of Kidscape's work through his 401 Challenge. We are totally in awe of Ben and our top priority is his health. The work he has already done for us is simply astounding. We have let his team and family know that we don't want him to put his future health at risk in any way.

If you'd like to speak to anyone at Kidscape regarding Ben's challenge, you can email or give us a call on 020 7730 3300.

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Down but not out, The 401 Challenge will continue despite injury

On Friday 10th June 2016, Ben Smith of The 401 Challenge had to suspend his running and campaigning activities due to a long standing back injury. At this current time, the 34 year old runner from Bristol is undergoing medical care from a highly regarded physiotherapist who works with professional athletes and specialises in back and spinal injuries. Currently Ben is undergoing a professional treatment plan to manage a bulging lumbar disc which is irritating the spinal nerve leading to a deviation in his spine. The therapy is showing signs of progress.

After visiting the A&E department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Saturday 11th June 2016, he was advised to take some time out to rest and recuperate due to a serious back injury which has been progressively getting worse since the development of a hernia in Alnwick on Thursday 19th May 2016. Ben has made the decision to travel back to Preston to seek therapy and spend sometime with his other half Kyle.

At this time it is not possible to confirm a return date for the project as this is fully dependent on Ben's health. Ben's intentions are to resume the challenge in Inverness on Tuesday 21st June.

Since 1st September 2015, Ben has run 284 consecutive marathons in 284 days covering 7,440.8 miles across 222 different locations across England, Wales and Scotland. Ben has completed eight official marathons including Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, Bristol to Bath, Greater Manchester, Brighton, The Virgin London Marathon, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh.

On his planned return Ben will have lost 10 days of running which equates to a total of 262 miles. In order to make this up Ben will run additional mileage daily to minimise the need for extra marathons either at the end or during the project. This will average out at an extra 2.5 miles per day for the remaining 106 running days. The 107th running day, which is the final marathon, will remain a 26.2 mile route. This plan will ensure a total of 10,506.2 miles (equivalent distance to 401 marathons in 401 days) is achieved by the end of the final marathon on Wednesday 5th October. Please be aware this plan will remain the same regardless of Ben's return date.

The objectives of The 401 Challenge are:

  • To raise £250,000 for two anti-bullying charities Stonewall and Kidscape

  • To raise awareness of the harmful effects of bullying

  • To get as many people involved as possible

  • To inspire people to take on their own personal challenges

  • To run 10,506.2 miles which is equivalent to 401 marathons in 401 days

The final objective above will mean that Ben will have run the equivalent of 401 marathons in 391 running days taking into account the 10 days he will have had to rest and recover from his back injury.

These objectives have been extremely successful to date. 6,117 people have run with Ben, over 255 people have run their first marathon and 603 people have run further than they have ever done before. Ben has visited over 78 schools and given talks to a wide age range of kids and young people leaving a lasting impression wherever he goes.

To date, over 31,000 people follow The 401 Challenge on Facebook and 6,000+ on Twitter. The project engages with over 250,000 people weekly and is fully supported by all its members.

The 401 logistics team is working hard to communicate directly with running clubs, physiotherapists and overnight accommodation offers to keep them up to speed with Ben's recovery and plans to return to the road.

Ben states:

"I was very upset the challenge had to be suspended especially when you think of all the hard work myself and the 401 team have put in over the last three years. I was scared by the possibility The 401 Challenge would come to an end especially when you factor in everything I have given up previously to commit and complete this challenge. Luckily I have an amazing team who have remained focused over the past few days to ensure The 401 Challenge goes on and we deliver all the objectives we set out to do. Today I am feeling positive in both my mental and physical state and will no doubt use everything in my power to be back on the road. I am so overwhelmed by all the support I have received from all over the world. I am proud to see 'The 401 Challenge' has become a source of passionate discussion and motivation for people, thank you from the bottom of my heart."

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above please contact The 401 Challenge by emailing and one of our team will be happy to answer any questions or concerns.

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