30 Dec 2015 – 401 Challenge

For those of you who don’t know, Ben Smith is running 401 consecutive Marathons to raise funds and awareness for anti-bullying charities. Please do have a look at his website, like the Facebook page, buy the T-shirt/long sleeve, send a donation etc.


Invited by Barrow Runners, we Stilton Striders (Rob Beers and Kaye Mead, and later Katie Hateley) joined by Sileby Running Club and Poplar Running Club members to join Ben on Marathon day 121, the Loughborough leg.

The course which is certainly not flat and uses the same course as the `Honesty Marathon`(Please do check out the link for `the Honesty Marathon `as a worthy cause and a great training course)


For someone who doesn’t see themselves as a great runner and must have some fatigue Ben is a truly humble and affable guy, happy to answer any questions, promoting his cause in a positive not pushy way , meets and greets everyone and gives them a token of thanks, and more than happy to have selfies and photos taken with him. He does have a great touring vehicle but no support: so no medics, no physios, no camera crew, it `s pretty much all Ben and the various bits of kindness he gets from local clubs.

Today is very grey overhead, the odd spot of rain in the air and it’s very blustery in fact gale force winds, we start the event at 9:30 with the group running into a massive headwind towards Woodhouse village. Absolutely no onus on pace or anything its one big friendly group, Old Woodhouse leads us to Woodhouse Eaves and the climb up Maplewell Road. The pace was below 10 min mile and a couple had dropped back thinking we`d be closer to 11m/m and I decided to stay with Kaye although we weren’t far behind. I thought the course would have us going towards Swithland but we just kept ascending up Maplewell Road getting higher and higher ascent until we got to Hunts Hill car park.

Team Stilton called it a day at 5 miles, the group were running all kinds of distances but they gave us a good friendly send off and we took photos of them running off towards Newtown Linford. Have to say a massive thank you to Barrow Runners for inviting us and the other clubs to be part of the event, they were very inclusive in making everyone welcome. So 5 miles back going the same way would’ve been boring so went the Rob route, have to say a massive well done to Kaye who ran all the way to the top of Old John in Bradgate Park without stopping, naturally a selfie was took at the summit.

Nice easy run back through Bradgate and Woodhouse Golf course back to the Manor Pub (Which wasn’t open!), very pleased to have represented Striders(in kit!) and made new friends being part of the 401 challenge (Which with today has now topped 2,000 people running with Ben). Special mention to Katie Hateley who joined the Marathon en route and I’m guessing ran the second leg from Barrow?

The Good news for all those who have Marathon training or a plethora of excuses is that Ben is returning to Loughborough in April!(Sadly its Tuesday April 12th) We would love to see more Stilton Striders joining us as it’s totally optional and without pressure how far you run.  [Rob]