Friday 13th not so lucky, or is it?

Ben Smith ultra-athlete set off on his 7 day UK Mini Trial ahead of his upcoming USA Challenge last week, with members of the public turning out to support and run with him whatever the weather, despite the 5.00am start!

It was a great start to the week. Ben’s hometown in Portishead saw him run with 20 people throughout the morning. It drizzled with rain and then the sun came out just as he was about to set off on his bike to Worcester. Covering 104 miles running and cycling that day Ben was ready to refuel and sleep, it was a good day!

Day 2 was a different story. The rain didn’t stop and Ben ran his 5.00am marathon alone. Already cold and wet from his run he climbed on his bike and set off for Altrincham. If the weather wasn’t enough to dampen him a few hours in, he was presented with road closures and diversions forcing him to add even more miles to his day’s already large total. Knowing he wouldn’t make it to Altrincham until very late, he took the safest decision and diverted to Stoke on Trent.

Day 3, after letting all the supporters know about the change of route, Ben was so pleased and very surprised to see runners arrive to join him in Stoke on Trent the following morning! It was a great run, with everyone lifting Ben’s spirits he had the realisation that going to the USA solo was not going to be easy. The cycle to Kirkham went well and Ben’s family were waiting to greet him for the night.

Day 4, it was another 5.00am start for the marathon. Ben set off with family and 401 supporters and after 5 mins, ouch, the pain from his achilles and calf area kicked in. Not being able to put any pressure on his foot sounded the alarm bells. Ben again took the difficult but safest decision to stop the UK mini trial as the risk to more severe damage was too great.

Although the 7 day UK mini trial ended early Ben has been very positive about it. He said ‘I have learned so much in the 4 days of the trial. Which is why I wanted to get out there on the road before the USA starts. Fortunately, the injury I picked up is not as bad as I thought which is great. Seems I fell short of tearing it and it’s just tight and in spasm. It’s getting better every day which is a positive thing.’

‘The trial has thrown up a few things which I need to look for alternative ways on how to keep my legs from tightening up, what can I do to aid my recovery and prevent this from happening in the US. I’ve started coming up with solutions and working them into the plan and have been back on the bike now which feels good. In a few days, I will get out for a run. I am really looking forward to it.’

It is just 26 days (at the time of issue) until Ben starts his USA Challenge where he hopes to raise £104,000 for The 401 Foundation. You can find out more HERE on what Ben is doing, and how to support his challenge.

To follow Ben’s progress, you can check him out via The 401 Challenge on his social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & TikTok

Notes to editors

All images are ©The401Challenge

1 – Ben starts UK Mini Trial Tour at 5.00am in Portishead

2 – Running in Portishead

3 – Kirkham marathon at 5.00am

4 – Ben as the UK Mini Trial Tour comes to an end

The 401 Challenge media contacts

For more information, please telephone Helen Lazenby, 401 Challenge Ltd, Operational Support on 07800 595 995,

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