Hello Ben

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Brathay-Hall-Ben-and-All

Whilst trawling the Internet some months ago I happened across a marathon story that caught my attention. A man called Ben who had given himself the challenge to run 401 marathons in 401 days. He is raising awareness and money for 2 charities which deal with bullying called Stonewall and Kidscape. Earlier in his life he had suffered from bullying, these charities helped him and found ways to give him back the confidence he had lost. He also found running helped him and put the two elements together to form this amazing challenge to push his body to the limits and raise money. He is running around the whole of the UK starting and finishing in his home town of Bristol. If you want to find out more about what and where he is up to then follow the link below:-

www.the401challenge.co.uk

I loved this story and challenge as I can relate to it with my own serial marathon running challenges albeit Ben’s is on a much greater scale. When I realised he was going to do the Brathay Windermere Marathon on 28 July 2016 for his 332nd marathon in a row, I had to go along to meet this amazing serial marathon runner and support him if only for one day around my favourite marathon course.

It would have been nice to run around the lake in the summer sunshine but sadly with the Lake District being the Lake District, it rained all day but at least it was warm. Before we all walked down Brathay Hall’s drive to the start on the road, time was taken for many of the runners who had turned up, to have photos taken with Ben at the font of Brathay Hall.

Brathay-Marathon-Start-with-Ben

Ben runs at the pace of the slowest runner who is following him each day. This coupled with dodging the traffic on the narrow winding roads meant we ran very slowly. It didn’t seem to matter too much and gave me the opportunity to hold conversations with Ben and other runners including 10in10 friends Noel, Kate and Jim. I had a burning question to ask Ben, “Why 401 marathons?” His answer was that he had seen others complete 365 marathons in a year so looked at 400 with an extra one for good measure. Some of the runners were only children and it was lovely to see them enjoying their running and running further than they had ever done before. The joy on their faces was so evident as they reached 8 miles, 10 miles and a couple even got to 12 miles.

At 12 miles we came to the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge. To keep up his daily calorie intake Ben always stops for food half way round a marathon and this was his stop today. We had already been out in the rain for 2 hours 50 minutes and I didn’t want to go inside only to come out once again to run in the rain so I elected to leave Ben and his followers and bid them all fair well.

I got to half way in 2:55 and moved up to my usual pace to complete the second half in 1:44 so finished in 4:39:31. A half respectable time in the end. Just for the record that was my 49th lap of Lake Windermere.

“Ben, it was a privilege to get to talk and run with you today and good luck with the remainder of your challenge.”

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