The 401 Challenge – a Guinness world record attempt at the most consecutive marathons run by one man – reaches Scotland today (Friday 11 March) as Ben Smith arrives in Kelso. Over the next five months, Ben Smith will run 81 of his 401 marathons in 73 different Scottish locations.
As Ben runs, The 401 Challenge is raising money for anti-bullying work by charities Stonewall and Kidscape, with more than £40,000 raised so far.
Smith, 33, experienced bullying at school, which had long-term effects on his life and led to suicide attempts. Running has helped Ben deal with the depression that was a direct result and create a life beyond the bullying. He is now a certified Stonewall Educational Role model. During The 401 Challenge, Smith visits schools, discussing his experiences and getting students to examine the harmful effects bullying has on their peers.
Smith worked in Scotland for several years and says: “I’ve always been a bit of an explorer at heart, so the opportunity to visit a number of breathtaking locations in Scotland whilst sharing my love and passion for running with the people I encounter on my travels was a no brainer when I started planning this project two years ago. I am looking forward to enjoying Scottish hospitality and also getting my teeth stuck in to a few pies!”
Peterhead – furthest West – 12 June
John O’Groats – furthest North – 28 June
Fort William – furthest West – 7 July
Stanraer – furthest South – 18 July
To find out more about where the individual marathons are being run, please visit The 401 Challenge website, and for details about specific days up to a fortnight in advance, please visit the events listings on The 401 Challenge Facebook page.
Over 3,500 people have run with The 401 Challenge, for part or all of the marathon distance. If you want to donate, you can do so here.
Image courtesy Louis Devitt