9.30am Monday 7th March 2016 – not the usual start time for a marathon!
Nevertheless this is when the remarkable character, who is Ben Smith,
plans to start his 189th consecutive day of running the marathon distance !
His camper van, emblazoned with 401 Challenge logo’s, pulls into the car park beside our clubhouse.
I’m there with Andrew Richardson, Lorna McDonald, Damian Foster, Emma Sanderson & Bob Sewell with his bike,
George & Hud and we are all curious to see who emerges from the van.
And here he is, tall, bearded, slim and very fit looking – he’s kitted up, friendly, chatty and ready to go !
He is 33 years old and only started running two and a half years ago as rehabilitation
following a stroke he suffered when he was 29. He worked in the city,
in a high powered pressurised environment, was burning the candle at both ends,
weighed over 17 stones and as a result of the stroke temporarily lost his sight and speech.
It was a BIG wake up call!
He had a friend who ran and this friend cajoled him into going to Southville Running Club in Bristol.
Ben said the thought of going to a running club was intimidating because you ‘assume everyone is going to be better than you’.
But he found the experience cathartic, the club members encouraging and supportive
and he said to me that running had changed his life for the better in so many ways.
You can find out more about Ben and the 401 Challenge from their website and why he is
absolutely passionate about the anti –bullying charities that he is raising money to support.
He was really appreciative of the support he had from Morpeth Harriers
and in particular those who turned out to run, ride and refresh him today.
The weather was good, he enjoyed the course and the support he got from
the kids at Goose Hill Primary School – cheers Lorna for sorting that out !
So thanks to all who took part today, those mentioned above, plus Pam Woodcock, Carol Parry,
James McFetrich, Cinty Miley, Jill Sandeman, Kim Taylor and Neil McAnany.
It’s amazing what gets talked about when your trundling along on events like this
and Ben has had 189 days of consecutive running chit chat.
He’s got some great tales and here is one situation most of us will have experienced;
What do you do when you are at a party and you’ve been to the loo
but it won’t flush away.......you need to speak to someone who was on Lap 3 today
to find the answer........it’s unbelievable what happened!!!!