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Man arrives in Lowestoft as he aims to complete 401 marathons in as many days

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 December 2015

Ben Smith has set himself the gruelling task of running 401 marathons in as many days. Pictured at Waterlane Leisure Centre

Ben Smith has set himself the gruelling task of running 401 marathons in as many days. Pictured at Waterlane Leisure Centre

Archant

For most people running one marathon is a big enough challenge.

Ben Smith pictured at Waterlane Leisure CentreBen Smith pictured at Waterlane Leisure Centre

But one man’s efforts to break a world record by running an incredible 401 marathons in as many days has received the backing of the Lowestoft community.

Ben Smith has set himself the 401 Challenge – and since September he has embarked on the gruelling task of running a marathon a day at venues all over the UK.

He aims to raise £250,000 for anti-bullying charities Stonewall and Kidscape through the 401 Challenge – and for the past week he has been in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr Smith, who lives near Bristol, started the 401 Challenge in Bristol on September 1 and he is running marathons all over the UK.

He said that, as well as raising funds for Stonewall and Kidscape, he hoped the project would raise awareness about bullying. Mr Smith experienced bullying at school

and found it went on to affect him

in later life. He discovered running to be a good way to reduce stress and boost his confidence, and from this he had the idea to do The 401 Challenge.

After arriving in Lowestoft for his first ever visit last Friday night, Mr Smith set out on his 89th run on Saturday morning – where he was joined by members of local running clubs – including hosts Lowestoft Road Runners and Waveney Valley Athletics Club – as they joined him on the route.

Leaving Waterlane leisure centre at about 9.30am the group of about 20 runners and Mr Smith set out to run various distances. Karen Archbold, Lowestoft Road Runners club secretary, said: “Some are doing half marathons, seven to ten miles,

while I – and several other members – are running the whole way (26.2-miles).

“Ben contacted us, along with lots of running clubs around the country to set up routes. We devised two

laps around Lowestoft and Oulton Broad, taking in the most easterly point to eventually finish back at Waterlane.

“For us as Lowestoft Road Runners it is really nice to be involved in it,” she added. “It has been brilliant to raise awareness and monies for two worthy charities.”

Mr Smith said: “It has been a two and a half year project and I am loving my day in Lowestoft with Lowestoft Road Runners and Waveney Valley.”

After the marathon, he added: “What a great day in Lowestoft. I have been to the most easterly point of the UK – and thanks to everyone at Lowestoft Road Runners – especially Karen – and for the medal and trophies as well.”

For more about Mr Smith’s quest visit www.the401challenge.co.uk, find the challenge on Facebook and follow @the401challenge on Twitter.

Have you got a Lowestoft story? Email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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