Growing up, Ben started life in the best possible way. Brought into this world as part of a very loving, supportive and close military family. He travelled the world for the first ten years of his life, one adventure after another but at the age of 10, Ben found himself in a situation he hadn’t really planned for. After the age of 10 there was no schooling available for British children on the base his parents lived. With this in mind Ben’s parents had no choice but to send him to boarding school in the UK.
Boarding school was unlike anything Ben had previously experienced, and within a short amount of time found himself to be the target of bullying. He was constantly made to feel that something was wrong with him, on a regular basis he felt unworthy, out-of-place and second class to the rest of the school. The next 8 years at school would change his life forever.
After years of mental and physical bullying at school, Ben’s confidence and self-esteem were shattered. He had limited belief in himself and became a shell of the person he once was, he found the only way out was to take his own life. Not having any control over how he felt, he was trapped and everyday became a struggle.
The years of bullying had taken a toll on Ben, like most, he threw himself into what he thought society deemed a successful life path. He was successful, working for a FTSE 100 company, rising through the ranks, working 60-70 hours a week, drinking heavily, eating too much and neglecting to exercise. At the age of 29 he weighed 16.5 stone, smoked 40 cigarettes a day and once again found himself in a situation he was unable to get out of. Confident on the outside but ruined within, Ben suffered a TIA (incomplete stroke) which made him take stock of the way he was living his life. The TIA Ben suffered would be the catalyst to changing his life for the better.
Whilst growing up Ben was never interested in sport but was now being given the opportunity to join a running club. He was naturally a little dubious and scared, as he had never really tried running before. His mind was overrun with doubts; would he be any good? Would people laugh at him? Would he get left behind? And would he be accepted?
After getting over the initial day Ben found a passion for running and consequently he began to lose weight and feel better about himself. With each mile he ran his confidence and self-esteem grew. He found the one thing that helped nurture his soul, calm his mind and heal his wounds. The running club he joined gave him the support he needed to make new friends, go on adventures, express who he really was and become the person he really wanted to be, which ultimately made him happy.
Over the course of two years, Ben went from struggling to run for a bus to running his first marathon which led him to complete 30 marathons all around the world. During 2014, Ben decided to take his bad experiences and turn them into something positive. This was the birth of ‘The 401 Challenge’.
The objectives were deemed to be impossible
On the 1st September 2015, Ben began his journey in Bristol. He sold everything he owned and through the help of his partner Kyle, family, friends and complete strangers he spent the next 401 days running around the UK.
It wasn’t an easy feat, Ben experienced plenty of ups and downs, challenges to overcome, logistical planning, nutrition, keeping his mind strong and on top of this deal with any injuries he suffered. In October 2016 after 401 days on the road, Ben crossed the finishing line in Bristol having accomplished every one of the objectives of the project he set out to complete.
If you would like to read more about Ben’s story, you can buy the book direct from Amazon.