Marathon man Ben runs in Northumberland during epic challenge

Ben Smith, right, outside Alnwick's Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, pictured with Gary Cowell, left, and  Karl Baxter.
Ben Smith, right, outside Alnwick's Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, pictured with Gary Cowell, left, and Karl Baxter.

A man who has embarked on a gruelling running challenge was in Northumberland last week, as part of his ambitious attempt to complete 401 marathons in as many days – breaking a world record in the process.

Ben Smith, from near Bristol, is tackling the feat in a bid to raise awareness of bullying and to collect £250,000 for two charities dedicated to tackling bullying – Stonewall and Kidscape.

Ben Smith gives a talk at Hipsburn First School.

Ben Smith gives a talk at Hipsburn First School.

The 33-year-old was a former victim of bullying and even tried to take his own life after a daily barrage of physical and emotional abuse.

The epic fund-raiser started last September and he will be running marathons in 309 locations. As part of this, he headed to the Secret Kingdom, taking on a 26-mile challenge in Cramlington on Saturday, March 5, followed by Blyth the next day and Morpeth on Monday, March 7.

On Tuesday, March 8, he was in Alnwick, followed by Belford the next day and Berwick after that. The latter three were his 190th, 191st and 192nd marathons.

Active Northumberland helped plan the Alnwick marathon, which saw Ben go to the likes of Alnmouth, Boulmer and Dunstanburgh. Along the route, he was cheered on by Hipsburn First School pupils and stopped to give a short talk to the students about his efforts.

Ben Smith, centre, with the support group for the Alnwick leg, which included Paul Yeadon, of Active Northumberland, left.

Ben Smith, centre, with the support group for the Alnwick leg, which included Paul Yeadon, of Active Northumberland, left.

Active Northumberland’s Paul Yeadon, who ran 15 miles of the Alnwick leg with Ben, said: "What Ben is doing is incredible. He is so positive and he is doing it for a great cause."

Ben will return to the county when he will be running in Alnwick (marathon number 262) on Thursday, May 19, and Wooler (number 263) on Friday, May 20. For more details, visit the401challenge.co.uk