Ben aims to run incredible 401 marathons in 401 days

Sean Holden

Ben Smith, who is taking on 401 marathons around the UK in 401 days, brought his epic challenge to the Tonbridge area at the weekend when he chalked up number 229.

Ben is attempting to raise £250,000 for his chosen causes which are two anti-bullying charities, Stonewall and Kidscape.

Both charities are close to his heart, as he suffered severe depression and bullying as a teenager because of the fact he is gay.

Ben, aged 33, who is also competing in this Sunday’s London Marathon, said: “I spent 18 years hiding who I was through fear of being ostracised and being told at school that being gay was bad.”

Having come out as being gay two years ago, he regained his confidence through long-distance running and this led to him coming up with the idea for his charity challenge, which he started last September.

For last Saturday’s marathon, Ben, from Bristol, was supported by Weald St George’s 10k team, as he went through the 6,000-mile mark. He started in Knole Park, Sevenoaks and then ran to Tonbridge where his route took him around local beauty spots such as Haysden Park. The route also took him past Dame Kelly Holmes’ café, 1809, in Hildenborough.

In a video message to Ben, the Olympic double gold medal winner said: “I can’t believe that you are mad enough to do 401 marathons. I am only trying to get ready for London and my body is busted, so massive respect to you.”

Ben, who is hoping his efforts will also earn him a Guinness World Record, said: “What a day. There was a massive support thanks to Ian Walker, race director of the Weald 10k. It made the day my most successful yet and over £4,500 was donated online.”

For more information on Ben’s challenge and to donate go to:

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