Hartlepool hosts latest leg of charity champion’s remarkable marathon challenge

Ben Smith, front, with Burn Road Harriers members on the 178th leg of his challenge.
Ben Smith, front, with Burn Road Harriers members on the 178th leg of his challenge.

Hartlepool hosted the latest leg of a remarkable running challenge yesterday as a charity champion continued his quest to complete 401 marathons on 401 consecutive days.

Ben Smith, 33, from Bristol, took part in the 178th leg of the challenge, starting at Newburn Bridge before running a 26-mile loop around the town and outlying areas.

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received since the project started almost two years ago

Ben Smith

Mr Smith is raising money for Stonewall, which is the leading gay, bisexual and trans equality charity, and Kidscape, the anti-bullying protecting children charity. He is aiming to raise £250,000.

He also wants to raise awareness of bullying in the UK, after being bullied himself while at boarding school as a child.

He completed yesterday’s run with a group from Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers to take his overall tally to 4,663 miles so far, which is the distance from Bristol to Texas. Mr Smith has already broken the Guinness World Record for most marathons run in the most consecutive days.

He said: “Four years ago, running had become a method for me to express myself competitively, a way for me to challenge myself and get a massive amount of satisfaction out of it.

“With a close network of supportive family and friends that love me for who I truly am, I was able to dream big and this is how The 401 Challenge turned from a pipe dream into a reality. I trained for almost two years, building crucial knowledge of my body, my mind and more importantly, my confidence and self-esteem.

“I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received since the project started almost two years ago.”