Multiple marathon man Ben Smith is heading back to Borders

Anti-bullying campaigner Ben Smith.
Anti-bullying campaigner Ben Smith.
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A Jedburgh jogging group is going the extra mile – or 26 – to support multiple marathon man Ben Smith’s bid to do 401 of the long-distance runs in as many days.

Anti-bullying campaigner Ben Smith is taking on the mammoth challenge to raise awareness of the issue and the misery it can cause for youngsters, as well as collecting money for the charities Stonewall and Kidscape.

The 34-year-old plans to do the 264th of his intended 401 marathons near Jedburgh, and about 40 members of the Jed Joggers group will be with him every step of the way.

The group is also appealing to other Borderers to join in to show their support for Ben and help him hit his fundraising target of £250,000.

The Jed Joggers group has planned a route for his 264th marathon, taking place on Saturday, May 21, and starting and finishing at the glebe at Jedburgh.

It will be his second of three runs he has planned in the Borders as he has already done one at Kelso, on Friday, March 11, and will do another at Peebles on Sunday, May 22.

“We are running with him, along with others, on May 21, and we are hoping that as many people as possible will join in and support Ben in this amazing challenge,” said group member Cara Pearson.

“Whether people want to run part or all of the distance with him, stopping at cafes and cake shops for refuelling, if they like, they are welcome.

“If you don’t fancy running, you could just show your support by watching and encouraging him as he passes by.”

Prior to the run, at 9.30am, Ben will be at the pavilion at the glebe to talk to children about bullying, and any youngsters wishing to discuss the issue with him are invited along.

After the run, cakes and refreshments will be served, also at the pavilion.

His route from the pavilion will be along the A68, then the back road to Mounthooley, across country to Harestanes, Ancrum and Lilliesleaf before returning the same way.

“If any local bakers wish to make cakes, sandwiches or tray-bakes to help fuel his tank or simply donate money to help him reach his target, anything would be greatly appreciated, added Cara.

“Any supportive and encouraging banners and posters people can provide along the route would also be very much appreciated.

“Whatever locals can do or offer, no matter how big or small it may seem, it will be greatly appreciated.”

Among those to pledge their support so far are Kirstyn Hume and the Forresters’ Restaurant in Castlegate, Jedburgh, with offers of a sports rub and meal respectively.

For details of Ben’s series of runs, commenced at the beginning of September, go to www.the401challenge.co.uk

Ben, of Bristol, was prompted to embark on his multiple marathon challenge by his own experiences of being bullied as a child, causing him to suffer depression and make two suicide attempts.