Friends cycle thousands of miles in charity challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 February 2020

Emma, Kirsty and Debbie at a spin-athon at Parish Wharf.

Emma, Kirsty and Debbie at a spin-athon at Parish Wharf.


Three friends have cycled more than 19,500 miles in support of Ben Smith’s 401 Foundation.

Emma Marshall and Kirsty Eastman, from Portishead, and Debbie Miles, from Clevedon, signed up to the 401 virtual challenge of cycling as many miles as they could in one year in aid of the charity.

Ben Smith, from Portishead, set up the foundation which awards grants to small community projects and individuals which build confidence and self-esteem, while tackling the issues surrounding mental health.

More: Ben Smith reveals mammoth 2020 challenge to raise £1million.

Emma, Kirsty and Debbie have cycled thousands of miles during spin classes at Parish Wharf Leisure Centre, and hope to reach the target of 22,500 miles by March 13.

The trio are raising money for the 401 Foundation and Ben Smith's next fundraising challenge, USA 2020, which involves him running a marathon in each US state and cycling between them to raise £1million.

Kirsty said: "We're all the sort of people who like to push and challenge ourselves and thought it would be something quite special to achieve because it was over a whole year and would therefore demand a lot of determination and resilience.

"We also thought it would be a good way to help bring extra attention to and raise additional support for Ben Smith's 401 Foundation and USA 2020 Challenge." She added: "Although we have found it tough going at times, it's been a great incentive and motivator to keep exercising and pushing ourselves - which has boosted both our physical and mental health."

Ben is best known for running 401 marathons from September 2015 to late 2016 to raise money and awareness for Stonewall and Kidscape.

He said: "Huge thanks to Kirsty, Emma and Debbie for undertaking their brilliant challenge to help raise funds and awareness for our 401 Foundation, it means so much to have this amazing support.

"As the three of them experienced, exercise can provide so many benefits, not just in terms of physical and mental health, but emotionally and socially too - which is the message we are trying to convey to people of all ages and abilities through my USA challenge."

You can sponsor the trio, and the foundation, by logging on to

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