For some of us, running a marathon is the ultimate nightmare...but one man has decided to do it more than 400 times in a row to help raise money for two charities close to his heart.
Bullied as a child and later suffering from depression, 33-year-old Ben Smith visited Preston for his 213th marathon in as many days as he strives to raise £250,000 for anti-bullying charities Kidscape and Stonewall.
Hoping to complete 401 sets of 26.2 miles in 401 days, Ben has raised £43,840 so far.
And with more than five and a half thousand under his belt, one of the runners who joined him yesterday says he shows no signs of slowing down.
Keen runner Faye Morne, from Ingol, was one of 47 people who joined Ben at the start of his run in Bamber Bridge and the 40-year-old labelled the Bristol-born athlete “a machine”.
“He left us for dead on some sections,” she said. “At a guess I’d say we were doing 10 minute miles, he’s an incredible runner.
“I feel really tired today and I definitely couldn’t do another marathon so it’s amazing how he keeps going and has done so many.
“But after seeing him, I have absolutely no doubt he will complete all 401.”
The route around Preston was organised by Red Rose running club and saw the runners move from Aspden Street in Bamber Bridge at 10am, to join the Guild Wheel at the Shawes Arms on London Road, anti clockwise towards Brockholes, then back up London Road to finish where they started.
“It was a brilliant day and Ben is a really charming and endearing man,” Faye said. “You have to see it to believe it, he’s a machine.”
With 188 marathons to go you can find out more about the challenge and donate to Ben’s inspiring story by visiting www.the401challenge.co.uk/