401 Marathon Man makes his way through Harpenden

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arro

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arrows running club together with local children and adults. - Credit: Photo supplied

He’s been dubbed an ‘amazing bloke’ and recently the inspirational sportsman who is running not just one, but hundreds of consecutive marathons was in Harpenden where he received plenty of encouragement from locals.

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden, where he ran with Jospeh Clarke (14), pictured

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden, where he ran with Jospeh Clarke (14), pictured - Credit: Photo supplied

Ben Smith, aka the ‘marathon man’, is running an impressive 401 marathons in 401 consecutive days all around the UK to raise £250,000 to support anti-bullying initiatives of charities Stonewall and Kidscape. Both organisations help combat bullying in schools and in society in general.

He is also trying to beat the world record of completing 365 marathons in 365 days.

Ben started his “challenge of a lifetime” on September 1 last year, and has already completed over 250 marathons – clocking up in excess of 6,500 miles so far.

While travelling around the country, the ‘401 Marathon Man’ has been welcoming people to run beside him for all or part of his marathons, and on Sunday, May 1, he visited Harpenden for his 244th marathon.

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arro

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arrows running club together with local children and adults. - Credit: Photo supplied


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The route was 13.1 miles past all the town’s schools, beginning at Roundwood Park School, and was completed twice to make it a marathon distance.

Ben ran at the pace of the slowest runner and invited everyone to join, including accompanied children.

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The Yard Pizzeria in Harpenden gave Ben a free lunch halfway through his 26.2 mile run.

In total, 92 people ran with Ben, some of whom managed a mile while others ran the full marathon distance. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arrows running club, along with local children and adults.

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arro

Ben Smith aka the 401 Marathon Man visited Harpenden. He was joined by members of the Harpenden Arrows running club together with local children and adults. - Credit: Photo supplied

Joseph Clarke, 14, who had only run 10km before Ben’s arrival, managed to run the first loop of 13.1 miles with the sportsman.

Among those supporting the marathon man’s efforts was Louisa Thompson who said: “It really was a fab day. There were loads of supporters along the route who were cheering or joining in part way through.”

So far, Ben has raised about £90,000 towards his goal, with people commenting on his Facebook page that he is a ‘true inspiration’ for raising the profile of anti-bullying charities.

After running through Harpenden Ben said: “What an incredible day, so many people turned out in Harpenden.”

Thanking Harpenden Arrows, he described it as an “inspiring day [I’m] feeling so energised for tomorrow!”

For more information please see https://www.facebook.com/the401challenge and feel free to donate via his website www.the401challenge.co.uk

To find out about the town’s running club, see www.harpendenarrows.co.uk

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