Portishead marathon runner ‘gutted’ to postpone The USA 2020 Challenge
PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 March 2020
A Portishead man who ran 401 marathons in 401 days has announced his latest initiative, The USA 2020 challenge, will be postponed until next summer.
Ben Smith, who launched The 401 Foundation, created a challenge with his team which would see people run one marathon in each of the 50 USA states and then cycle between them, covering more than 14,000 miles in 104 days.
The project would aim to raise £1million for The 401 Foundation, a scheme which gives grants to projects tackling self-esteem and development issues in communities in the area, as well as children's charity Youth Sport Trust.
The USA 2020 Challenge was due to start in July. In an emotional video to his followers, Ben said he was 'gutted' to postpone the initiative.
He said: "Over the past year and a half, the team and I at 401 HQ have worked hard to build this project from an idea into reality and develop a challenge we are all really proud of and one which will ultimately make a massive positive impact on people both here in the UK and in the USA.
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"We have to find £175k to run the project, which will go towards accommodation, vehicles, fuel, food, insurance, flights and equipment, and the team has a deadline of March 20.
"I'm proud to say we have managed to cover around one-third of this amount already - this is banked. But it saddens me to say the reality is we won't achieve the full amount before the deadline.
"Therefore, we have collectively as a team decided to move The USA Challenge to the summer of 2021.
"I'm not going to lie - I'm gutted, especially with all the energy both my team and I have put into planning The USA 2020 Challenge.
"However, moving the date not only gives us more time to find the remaining funds, but also gives us more time to engage schools in the challenge and achieve our target of getting 1 million young people on their own journey to wellbeing."
The journey to wellbeing education programme, launched by Youth Sport Trust and 401, gives free wellbeing resources to 450 UK schools which impacts than 250,000 young people, something everyone involved in the scheme is 'really proud about'.
For more information about the foundation and the challenge, visit www.the401challenge.co.uk