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Ben Smith - The 401 Challenge  Be Inspired!

On the 1st September 2015 Ben Smith began one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of his life, he ran 401 marathons in 401 days all around the UK visiting 309 different locations on the UK Mainland. Ben Smith aimed to raise £250,000 for the two amazing charities Kidscape and Stonewall who are dedicated to tackling bullying in out society. There two charities support award winning initiatives to get to the heart of bullying in schools and society in all its forms.  Ben Smith ran a total of 10.506.2 miles which is the same distance from London to Sydney and at the end of the challenge on the 5th October 2016 Ben Smith  had raised in excess of £315,000 through generous donations by individuals and businesses all over the world. 

Ben Smith and The 401 Challenge gained international, national and local press throughout the project inspiring thousands of people to do things they never thought were personally possible. The objectives of the 401 challenge were simple: 

Raise £250,000 to support the work of Stonewall and Kidscape

Raise awareness of the harmful effects of bullying in the UK 

Complete 401 marathons in 401 days 

Get as many people involved as possible and inspire them to push their limits

Taking an opportunity to have Ben Smith talk at your event will no doubt inspire, excite and deliver an experience for your teams which will have a lasting effect long after Ben Smith has left.

Key Messages include

Triumph over adversity 

Logistical Planning

Fundraising

Marketing and PR

Happiness

Personal and Professional Motivation

Anything is Possible

Healing through support

Mental Awareness

Don't be afraid to be who you are and follow your dreams

Ben Smith - The 401 Challenge  Be Inspired!

Ben Smith - The 401 Challenge - Be Inspired!

Ben Smith's history is unfortunately similar to many other children in the UK. Ben Smith was bullied at school for being gay for 8 years of his life. Throughout his childhood Ben never spoke about this through fear of making things worse, he tried at both the ages of 18 and 21 years to take his own life - he felt this was the only way out. His experience of being bullied led Ben Smith to become under-confident in his abilities and suffered from low self-esteem throughout his teens and into his twenties. Ben Smith suffered from mental health issues, particularly depression and an inability to trust anyone or have any visions, objectives or wants of his own. 

Being bullied affected his whole life until he turned 29 when he suffered from a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), otherwise known as an incomplete stroke. This led Ben Smith  to sit up and make a change, he needed to start thinking for himself and find out what made him happy in life. This came in the form of running.

From his first attendance at running club, Ben Smith  has excelled himself, from being unable to run for a bus in 2013 to completing 401 marathons in 401 days in 2016. This journey has been fraught with highs and lows but has provided opportunities to build his confidence through a passion he fortunately found. Ben Smith  has inspired others to achieve things they never thought were possible, he has overcome adversity and a lack of belief in his own ability as well as dealing with injuries such as an impinging nerve in his back and an umbilical hernia.

For Ben Smith, running has given him the opportunity to find his true self, it has provided endless amounts of confidence, self acceptance and opportunities he would have previously never had. Finding what makes him happy has brought peace to his life, enabled him to be congruent with himself and find a passion to help others that have or are going through what he has gone through. 

Ben Smith and The 401 Challenge team smashed all four of our objectives which we are thankful for and very proud of. This project has been a true representation of what communities can do when they stand together.

Challenge Facts:

• 10506.2 miles run or the equivalent distance between London and Sydney

• 2600 litres of water drank

• 2.9 million calories burnt

• 9873 people ran with Ben in the challenge

• 1354 people ran further than they have ever done before

• 575 first time Marathon / Ultra Marathon runners created

• 101 schools visited throughout the UK

• 3 countries visited including England, Scotland and Wales

• 25,000 miles driven all round the UK in a motorhome

• 23 pairs of trainers worn

• Over 12,000 images taken

• 3 Colds

• 2 Chest Infections

• 1 Fractured Back along with other injuries

All this and countless more people inspired and motivated to make a real positive change in their lives and others forever.

Awards:

Ben and The 401 Challenge team have received awards for this inspiring project, including: 

• Braveheart Hero at the North Somerset Hero Awards 2015 

• Public Choice Award at the North Somerset Hero Awards 2015 

• The Regional and National Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year Award 2016

• The Power of Light Award 2016 from the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister Theresa May

• Gold Star Charity Champion at the Bristol Post Gold Star Awards 2016 

• First’s Gold Star Hero at the Bristol Post Gold Star Awards 2016 

• The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award 2016

Key Messages

• Triumph over adversity 

• Logistical Planning

• Fundraising

• Marketing and PR

• Happiness

• Personal and Professional Motivation

• Anything is Possible

• Healing through support

• Mental Awareness

• Don’t be afraid to be who you are and follow your dreams

Taking an opportunity to have Ben Smith talk at your event will no doubt inspire, excite and deliver an experience for your teams which will have a lasting effect long after Ben Smith has left. 

Ben Smith - The 401 Challenge  Be Inspired!

"I cannot emphasise enough how well Ben Smith’s presentation was received! I still have people phoning me saying how inspirational the talk was. Only today the manager of the Avonmouth depot was telling his team that the way in which you communicated your story is exactly the way they should be communication to their people. With real authenticity"

Richard Parker (Co-Op Logistics Officer)

“You could hear a pin drop”. So many of our staff said that to me after hearing Ben Smith. Ben was in Scarborough to talk at Yorkshire Coast Homes’ annual staff conference. We’ve had some big name speakers with some impressive stories over the years but nobody has had a bigger impact than Ben Smith. Yorkshire Coast Homes was the first company in the UK to be awarded Leaders in Diversity level 3 by the National Centre for Diversity and our annual conference provides an opportunity to talk about our values. Ben talked openly about his journey, the challenges he had overcome and his inspirational feat of running 401 marathons in 401 days. I ran 3 of those marathons with Ben and I was so inspired by him I wanted all our staff to hear him. What a great decision that turned out to be.” 

Shaun Tymon (Yorkshire Coast Homes): 


 “Ben Smith is a naturally gifted presenter/ jongleur/story teller who had the audience in the palm of his hand – the feedback was honestly heart warmingly glowing. Just to say there were a whole raft of men and women who, a) Wanted to hug you, b) Wanted to adopt you, c) Wanted to run with you, d) Took inspiration from your talk and e) Wondered if your dad was Brian Blessed? One guy did (seriously for a minute) wonder why “Jack Whitehall” was on the video player! That is the impact you have had on theirs, ours and many other lives. Be very proud of yourself, what you have done and what you will continue to do.” 

Frank Dalton 

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