On Tuesday 28th May 2019, Ben Smith visited the Borough Hall in Godalming as part of a new national talk tour he is undertaking ahead of his latest challenge in 2020 when he will be heading to the United States.
Back in 2015/16 Ben Smith ran 401 marathons in 401 days to raise over £300,000 for the charities Stonewell and Kidscape. He has since launched the 401 Foundation, which provides grants to organisations and individuals that help young people build confidence, improve self-esteem and tackle mental health issues.
The talk was delivered in an extremely open and brutally honest way, as Ben grew up and suffered from bullying, self esteem and mental health issues himself, and how he found it difficult to be accepted for being gay. He talked in a very candid way about his life leading up to the original 401 challenge, and issues about fitting into society and what they perceived to be a normal and happy lifestyle, and his motivations behind changing things and going on to take on the challenge. It really hit home, that against such a background that for someone who was so lost and broken, you can achieve anything if you choose to search for what makes you truly happy.
He talked about life post the 401 challenge and how he dealt with the highs and lows that brought him and how he needed to have a new challenge to focus on, which will be the upcoming one in 2020.
Between March 13th and June 24th next year, Ben will run a marathon in each of the state capitals in the United States and then get on his bike and cycle between each one covering and amazing 18,500 miles IN 104 Days, this time raising £1 million for The 401 Foundation and The Youth Sport Trust. Ben talked about the challenges and logistics behind this and also the level of planning and support needed from those around him.
The talk aims to raise awareness ahead of the challenge and to provide some much-needed funds to make this challenge work. Everyone who attended the talk came away with their own thoughts and inspirations and the feedback was extremely positive, as Ben delivers the talk in a confident and honest way and it has something in that everyone will find they can relate to in how you overcome challenges in life and turn it around to give something positive back and inspire many people, especially the next generation.