Ben Smith

Ben Smith

  • The 401 Challenge - 401 Marathons in 41 Days
  • Equality, LGBTQ+ Diversity & Inclusion Speaker
  • Mental Health & Overcoming Adversity Speaker
In 2015, Ben set out on a mission that would change not only his life but the lives of thousands of other people around the world.

Growing up, he suffered at the hands of bullies, it had a huge and lasting impact on both his confidence and self-esteem. At 13, he discovered he was gay but felt the need to cover this up through fear of being attacked. At 18 and 21, he tried to take my own life because he was tired of feeling the way he felt everyday.

Throughout his 20s, he led a life dictated to him by others, successful on paper, at 29 he suffered a TIA, temporarily losing his sight, hearing, feeling in his left arm and speech. This was a huge wakeup call and he had one of two choices, either carry on or make a change, he’ll let you guess which one he chose. At 17.5 stone, a 40 a day smoker and heavy drinker, working 60 hours a week in a job he didn't really enjoy and covering up the fact he was gay, he decided to take the leap and come out. This set in motion a series of events that would lead him to become the happy and healthy person he is today.

Sport for Ben was something he always avoided, never feeling as though he was good enough. Like many others, he put up barriers and made excuses, mostly because he had no confidence. At 30, he was convinced by a friend to join a local running club and from day one, found something that gave him a focus, a way to express himself and a way to help him manage and deal with his mental wellbeing. It became a lifeline for Ben and helped him deal with many of the issues from his past.

The 401 Challenge was born, a feat of endurance like no one had ever really seen before. Ben set himself the goal of running 401 marathons in 401 days all around the UK, aiming to raise £250,000 for two anti-bullying charities to help ensure young people didn’t have to go through what he did as a child. Ben sold his house and all his belongings and on 1st September 2015, he set off from Bristol on a mission that would end up inspiring thousands to deal with their own pasts and question what is actually possible.

The 401 Challenge was a huge success and on 5th October 2016, Ben crossed the finishing line in Bristol having achieved something most people thought was not humanly possible.

The 401 Foundation values the importance of mental wellbeing and aims to help people empower themselves and their local communities to build confidence, self-esteem and promote positive mental health. The charity firmly believe everyone has the right to ‘find their happy’ and aim to provide support, empathy, and care so we can truly make a positive difference.

Speaker Topics
Delivering talks has become a passion of Ben’s and he covers subjects such as ….
  • Mental Health
  • LGBTQ+
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Positive Mindset
  • Resilience and Persistence
  • Planning and Goal Setting
  • Change Management
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Ben has the unique ability to inspire confidence, courage, and hope in people and learn about goal setting, leadership, focus, self-motivation and commitment. If you are interested in booking Ben for your event or conference, please contact a Prime Performers Booking Agent on 020 3500 3331 to discuss your requirements.
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