Image Copyright: Image © Ben Smith, The 401 Challenge

Ben Smith

Ben is a social entrepreneur, mental health charity founder, award winning global adventurer, fundraiser, author and inspirational speaker. From attempting suicide twice to running 401 marathons in 401 days, we challenge you not to find something in Ben’s life story that isn’t relatable.

In Person

£3500 - £9000

Price based on UK delivery

Virtual Event

£2500 - £5000

As a speaker, Ben is extremely open and honest and his story is one of genuine courage and determination which has, to date, inspired over 150,000 people and helped drive genuine cultural change in some of the world’s biggest organisations.

Growing up Ben suffered at the hands of bullies. It had a huge and lasting impact on both his confidence and self esteem. At 13 he discovered he was gay, but felt the need to cover this up through fear of being attacked. At 18, then again at 21 he tried to take his own life because he saw no other way out.

Throughout his 20s he led a life dedicated to pleasing others, successful on paper, at 29 he suffered a TIA  temporarily losing his sight, hearing, feeling in his left arm and speech. This was a huge wakeup call and he was left with two choices, either carry on or make a change, we’ll let you guess which one he chose.

At nearly 18 stone, a 40 a day smoker, heavy drinker, working 60+ hours a week in a job he didn’t really enjoy and covering up the fact he was gay, he decided to take the leap and come out. This set in motion a series of events that would lead him to become the happy and healthy person he is today.

Sport for Ben was something he always avoided, never feeling as though he was good enough. Like many others he put up barriers and made excuses, mostly because he had no confidence or belief in his own abilities.

At 30 he was convinced by a friend to join a local running club and from day one he found something that gave him a focus, a way to express himself and a way to help him manage and deal with his mental wellbeing. It became a lifeline for Ben and helped him deal with many of the issues from his past.

In 2014, after finally coming to terms with his past, he vowed to take his past experiences and turn them into something positive. The 401 Challenge was born, a feat of endurance like no one had ever really seen before.

He set himself the goal of running 401 marathons in 401 days all around the UK, aiming to raise £250,000 for two anti bullying charities to help ensure young people didn’t have to go through what he went through as a child. He sold his house, bought a campervan and on 1st September 2015 he set off from Bristol on a mission that would end up inspiring hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to deal with their own pasts and question what is actually possible.

The project was a huge success and on 5th October 2016 he crossed the finishing line in Bristol having achieved something most people thought was not humanly possible.

Raising over £330,000 for both Kidscape and Stonewall, winning both the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award and National / Regional Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year Award in 2016.

The positive impact the project had had on people when it came to building their confidence and self esteem was the proudest achievement for Ben. In 2017 he set up The 401 Foundation , this became the legacy of The 401 Challenge and he’s only getting started. With another record breaking challenge on the horizon and the development of an app that will offer greater accessibility to mental health support for everyone in the UK, the next decade is going to be as exciting as his last.

Booking Ben for your event, whether that’s a regional meeting, large scale conference, after dinner speaker or event host, you won’t be disappointed. Ben’s ability to take a harrowing life story, flip it on its head and show people that anything is possible is both inspiring and emotional.

In a time where we are constantly having to look at how we do things in a different way, realising that change is even a possibility, is a massive step in the right direction.

I cannot emphasise enough how well Ben’s presentation was received! I still have people phoning me saying how inspirational the talk was. Only today the manager of the Avonmouth depot was telling his team that the way in which you communicated your story is exactly the way they should be communication to their people. With real authenticity
Ben’s delivery of his personal story and journey was done in an authentic way. The audience could really relate to Ben and found his talk very moving. It really did start a conversation within the Company to talk more openly about mental health.
I wanted to give an in the moment thank you to Ben. What a fantastic session. I knew what was coming but it still gave me the chills and most importantly hope, please thank Ben! he was so kind to stay on, over and above we had booked. What an incredible guy & I am going to dig my trainers back out! Alexandra Wyatt | Finance Manager | Walgreens Boots Alliance
Ben was AMAZING. Honestly, he absolutely made the event and I have had some great feedback from people to say how much they enjoyed the event! He was so engaging and spent time afterwards chatting to everyone and even helped carry a box downstairs. It was just wonderful to spend time with such an amazing human. Cassie Watts | Programme Manager | Chartered Insurance Institute 
Ben is incredible and has inspired me in SO many ways. Thank you, Ben, for sharing your story. An amazing storyteller.
Your statement about being your authentic self is where you found your power – I think that’s amazing and so powerful. Thank you for sharing your story so authentically.
You are amazing Ben, thank you for sharing your powerful story – the passion you have puts everything in perspective.
Astonishing Ben, where on Earth did you find such resolve to adapt to everything?! Utterly mind-blowing and so honest.
Ben you are amazing. Such a powerful story! I have been smiling, laughing and crying whilst hearing it. Thank you so much for sharing with such passion and honesty. Bullying is awful, I have suffered both as a child and an adult, and I wish I could have found your courage to change things.
Two years ago, Ben was a guest speaker at an event for my company. Even now, colleagues are still speaking about how his story motivated everyone.

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Ben Smith

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