To help mark Mental Health Awareness Day, Kingswood School in Bath invited Ben Smith to talk to students about the challenges in his life that led him to take on the challenge of running 401 marathons in 401 days – and of course he took some of the students for a run.
Throughout his talk, Ben talked about his background and the health challenges he has faced in life and why he decided to run all those marathons to raise cash for charity.
Students listened as Ben talked about what drove him to this incredible challenge, which raised in excess of £330,000 for two anti-bullying charities and led to him winning the BBC Sports Personality ‘Helen Rollason Award’, along with other awards including the ITV Pride of Britain ‘National Fundraiser of the Year Award’.
Mr Matthew Deacon, Head of Science and cross-country co-ordinator at Kingswood School, said: “Mental health is such an important topic for everyone, and it has been great to see people becoming much more aware of such a vital aspect of our health as human beings in recent years.
“It is absolutely vital that we continue educating young people about mental health and by hearing stories like Ben’s, it helps our students have a better appreciation of the struggles people can go through. But most importantly, it’s about realising that there is always help and someone for them to turn to if times get tough.”
The students who attended the talk, and who had the opportunity to run with him afterwards, found Ben an engaging, passionate and honest speaker who made them feel inspired to challenge themselves and motivated to follow their goals.
Year 11 student Charlie said: “Hearing Ben talk about his life experiences and what got him into running was really inspirational. It definitely got me thinking about the fact that we don’t always know what is going on in someone’s life and how important it is to be kind.”
Ferdie, also in Year 11, said: “Talking to Ben and hearing the struggles he went through and how running has positively affected him has inspired me. He was really interesting to talk to and I’ll be following his next ultra-marathon adventures.”
In a rapidly changing world, Mental Health UK brings together the heritage and experience of four charities from across the country who’ve been supporting people with their mental health for over 50 years.
For more on mental health visit: https://mentalhealth-uk.org/get-involved/mental-health-awareness-days/world-mental-health-day-2023/