The remarkably durable Ben Smith from Portishead, Bristol completed a world record 401st marathon in 401 days on Wednesday (5 October). Ben was accompanied by around 350 runners on his final 26.2 mile journey, plus many hundreds more who ran simultaneously via the virtual community to help him exceed his £250,000 charity target.
Ben’s quest began in Bristol on Tuesday, 1 September, 2015 and took him to all four corners of England, Scotland and Wales but the marathon undertaking took its toll and was not achieved without discomfort.
The initial plan was to run a marathon on 401 consecutive days but there was a hiatus when Ben succumbed to a hernia and was forced to abandon 10 runs in June, while in Scotland. However, showing remarkable recuperative powers and resolve he added sufficient mileage to the remaining days to get right back on schedule for the grand finale back in Bristol where it all started.
Not surprisingly, the 401 Challenge generated some pretty impressive stats. Since commencing his extraordinary odyssey, Ben has burned more than two and a half million calories and destroyed 23 pairs of trainers; the total distance covered is 10,500 miles and around 9,500 runners have accompanied him part of the way. On a more serious note, Ben has visited more than 100 schools en-route to deliver his inspirational anti-bullying message.
Regarding the 401 Challenge, Ben said: "A key objective has been to involve as many people as possible and create opportunities for children, young people and adults to discuss the difficult topics of bullying and sexuality."
Immediately he had been cheered through the finish line on his final run he said: "I think I'm in a bit of shock, I can't believe we have done this. Without every single person who has taken part, we wouldn't be where we are now and I can't thank you enough. I am sure the charities will thank you, too”.