After three and half years of planning Ben Smith has finally started his epic fundraising USA Challenge. He hopes to raise £104,000 for The 401 Foundation by running and cycling 10,700 miles across all 50 US states in 86 days. They will be developing the world’s first mental wellbeing app.
After flying to Boston on Sunday 12th June he then drove himself to Augusta, Maine on the East Coast, which was the start line for his first marathon on 14th June.
Flo, Ben’s bike, was pulled out of her box and he spent the next few hours building her and packing his kit.
Day 1 – Ben was up at 2.00am and now prepared for his first marathon, he was also ready for a swift transition over to his bike. His first day of his solo Challenge will see him complete 113.1 miles.
With the time difference in the UK he was able to check in at 401 HQ as the sun was raising over Augusta. Ben said ‘That’s marathon one done, phew glad that’s out of the way.
It was tough as I had to walk it due to my injury raising its ugly head again.’
Ben has been working with a physio for the past few weeks on a recovery plan as he had torn his medial soleus grade 2c, it’s called the ‘runners muscle’.
Ben continued ‘It started to niggle this morning around 3:00am so I walked slowly, it calmed down so I went faster and it came back.’
After talking to 401 HQ, he decided that health comes first as the goal is to get to the end of this without further injury. In true 401 style, he has now adapted things slightly so for the next two weeks and has decided to do half marathons instead of full marathons, the cycling will remain unchanged as he will use different muscle groups and the injured muscle will remain unaffected.
Once Ben has healed, he will start moving back to full marathon distance. He has 10 states with no running currently so the plan is to now run in them meaning he can try and make up the miles not covered in the early stages, but health comes first of course. It wasn’t the start he wanted but he will adapt and will keep on moving on.
Ben is so happy that he has completed the first marathon and although a little nervous about cycling in the US, he is off on his bike to spend the night in Conway, New Hampshire where he will eat, sleep, repeat!
To follow Ben’s progress, you can check him out on our website HERE or on our social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram.
Notes to editors
All images are ©The401Challenge
1 – Ben arrives in Boston with Flo, his bike, safely in her box!
2 – Ben completes marathon 1
3 - Flo all ready to be put back together
4 – Sunrise over Augusta, Maine
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With Thanks to Our USA Challenge Sponsors
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