Runner’s marathon effort to tackle bullying
A MAN who is running an incredible 401 consecutive marathons in a campaign against bullying has brought his challenge to town.
Ben Smith, 33, sold his house and gave up his job in order to take on the mammoth fundraising challenge, which he hopes will raise awareness of bullying and vital funds for anti-bullying charities.
He invited school children and the Macclesfield Harriers to join him on his 133rd race, which started at the Macclesfield Leisure Centre and took him twice around the route of the Macclesfield Half Marathon.
Neil Gunn, Macclesfield Harriers treasurer, said: “The dedication of the man is beyond anything you can imagine.
“I’ve run a marathon and know how hard it is. Even if he feels grotty he can’t take a day off or he won’t achieve his goal.
“How his body is holding up I have no idea. I feel privileged to be part of it all.”
Ben, who tried to take his life twice as a result of bullying and depression, met with pupils from St John the Evangelist and Gawsworth Primary Schools to talk about his experiences before they all took to the athletics track to complete the first mile together.
He was also joined by members of the Macclesfield Harriers, including ‘marathon man’ pensioner Harry Newton, 78, who has raised £10,000s for charity, who completed half the route, and Hazel Winder, 65, who took on the full distance.
Ben, who began his record breaking attempt on September 1 last year, said: “I lived my whole adult life in a state of depression up to age 30, but it all changed when I found running. I was never very sporty but a mate suggested I join a running club which helped me build selfesteem. Then I tried, and loved, my first marathon so this seemed the perfect way to raise money for charities I’m passionate about.”
Ben, who has so far raised more than £25,000 to be split between anti-bullying charity Kidscape and LGBT rights charity Stonewall, will return to Macclesfield for another marathon in April.
The Athletics Track at Macclesfield Leisure Centre was provided free of use thanks to Everybody Sport and Recreation Trust.
To sponsor him go to uk.virginmoneygiving. com/the401challenge.
●● Ben Smith, who is in the middle of his 401 challenge, was joined by students from St John the Evangelist and Gawsworth primary schools