I read recently of an inspirational young man, Ben Smith, who was bullied for 8 years at school. The bullying caused him to be so depressed that he tried to commit suicide when he was 18. Fortunately he did not succeed, and at the age of 34 in September 2015 he decided to raise awareness of the damage that can be caused by bullying. He aimed to run 401 consecutive marathons in 401 days for his chosen charities Kidscape and Stonewall.
He managed to run 284 marathons in 284 days before suffering an umbilical hernia in June this year, which forced him off the road for 10 days to recover. The hernia caused a bulging vertebral disc, nerve pain, and a curvature in his spine. After recovering from this by taking time out in Blackpool for intensive physiotherapy and acupuncture, he made up the lost mileage by running an extra 2.5 miles every day for the following 106 days, and on 5th October 2016 he was joined by about 350 people who set off with him for his 401st marathon. As he was about halfway through this last marathon, he reached his fundraising target of £250,000.
Ben was heard to say before his last run that his legs had been fine for the previous 101 days, but now with the end in sight his legs and his back were aching. An emotional Ben crossed the finish line in Bristol, his hometown, and hugged his partner.
What an inspiring individual! His team have now put together a three month ‘cooling down’ programme involving a month of consecutive half marathons, followed by a month of 10km runs, and a month of daily 5km runs.
I think after all this Ben should sit down for a well deserved rest. He covered 10,506.2 miles in every kind of weather. Well done to this young man for raising so much money and for increasing the public’s awareness of the damage that bullying can do.