Thursday March 10 may have been the 70th day of 2016 but it was also the 192nd day in the 401 Challenge.
Ben Smith, from Bristol, is the man behind the 401 Challenge whereby, starting on Tuesday, September 1 2015 and finishing on Wednesday, October 5 2016, he is running 401 marathons in 401 consecutive days around the UK.
Ben is undergoing this gruelling feat in order to raise £250,000 for charities Kidscape and Stonewall.
Both these charities work towards eradicating bullying from
The Berwick Marathon, organised by Caroline McDermott, Tweed Striders head coach, was Challenge No 192 for Ben and at 9.30 am last Thursday he departed from the Swan Centre accompanied by Tweed Striders Stuart Black, Jane Holmes, Colin Thompson, Will McDermott, Steve Lauder, Judith Thompson and Liz Howlett.
Work commitments and time constraints meant that Judith and Liz could only run the first couple of miles to East Ord where they left Ben and his merry band to continue onward.
At the Chain Bridge Ben was met by renowned piper Andrew Smith of Kreative Technology who, in full regalia, undoubtedly made Ben’s day by piping him over the border from England into Scotland.
After a brief detour into Paxton House Tea Rooms for the first refuelling stop of the day (Ben lost 17 kg in 12 weeks so now needs to take on board 6,000 calories a day in order to maintain his status quo), Ben and the others ran on via Paxton, Hutton and Broomdykes where they detoured down into Allanton and the Allanton Inn for Ben’s second refuelling stop of the day, namely a substantial lunch – thank you to Katrina and William Reynolds for looking after Ben so well and so generously.
At this point – mile 15 – Will McDermott’s legs decreed “enough was enough”, so Ben’s entourage was reduced by one until Caroline McDermott joined Ben and the others for the final seven miles back into Berwick.
Running a marathon is a huge achievement, running 401 marathons back-to-back is almost beyond description and quite awe-inspiring (more information can be found at www.the401challenge.co.uk).
However, whilst Thursday was the 192nd day in Ben’s 401 Challenge, for Colin Thompson and Steve Lauder it was a truly unforgettable first.
Both Colin and Steve started out with the aim of running one or perhaps two sections of the course but, in the event, they ran the full 26.2 miles and so they completed their first marathon, albeit totally unexpectedly.
Plans are now afoot for an “official” marathon next year.
For more details visit Ben’s website at www.the401challenge.co.uk/.