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Episode Info: Ben Smith an endurance marathon and ultra runner from Portishead in the UK where he lives with his partner Kyle.  He is a passionate mental health campaigner, motivational speaker, endurance athlete and mass participation event organiser, famous for his incredible achievement of running 401 marathons in 401 days back in 2015 which raised over £330k for two charities Kidscape and Stonewall. His next project USA 2020 will see Ben run a marathon in each of the 50 US state capitals and then cycle between each one. Ben will be aiming to complete the 18,500-mile adventure in just 104 days – starting in March 2020 and finishing during the Youth Sport Trust National School Sport Week in June 2020. During this epic challenge; with the help of schools, organisations and individuals all around the UK and further afield, Ben is aiming to raise £1 million for two charities: The 401 Foundation and Youth Sport Trust, supporting their work which uses physical activity to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing. Ben incredible marathon journey started in Brighton and would take him on to Amsterdam and then all over the world as he discovered his love of travelling combined with his love of marathons and having a positive impact on people around him. Not only this but it came at a time when Ben would grapple with a history of bullying throughout school, suicide attempts, dyslexia, and a stroke as he also came to terms with his sexuality at the same time. What Ben and I discussed in Part One of our two part conversation. In his early years sport didn’t play a part in Bens life as most sport at school was largely skill based.How his TIA (stroke) at 29 was a big wake up call and at that time he weighed 17 stone, was a 40 a day smoker, depressed and in a relationship he shouldn’t be inHe started to make some changes and tough choices.A year after, a friend told Ben she was sick of him and listed all these things in particular. She told Ben he was moaning about his health and doing nothing about it.She said why don’t you come and join my running clubBen was surprised that there were people like him and surprised by the pain he felt from running which he hadn’t felt after so many years of not exercising.He used to work 60-70 hrs a week, have a nice car, was married nice a house, but he was influenced by peers that to be happy he needed material things and success meant happiness.Ben was shocked when he had the stroke because it showed how lost he was. The anger, frustration and sadness that took hold as he began to try and change. How change is a journey, and why Bens change was organic, and more a mindset thing with running his vehicle for change.The camaraderie around running, Park Run, Couch to 5k.Ben ran with 350 running clubs around the UK during his 401 marathons and he describes how the Elitist element has really dropped awayShe said why don’t you come and join my running club?Bens Friend The cathartic nature of ...
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