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401: The Extraordinary Story of the Man Who Ran 401 Marathons in 401 Days and Changed His Life Forever By Ben Smith

Release date: 10th April, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

List Price: £11.00
Our Price: £9.35
You Save: £1.65 (15%)
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Sport’s inherent power and popularity is capable of effecting enormous – and positive – changes, as readers of our recent review of One Goal will have gathered.

Sometimes, however, sport becomes the vehicle for supporting, rather than causing a significant change. This is the message that leaps loud and clear from 401, Ben Smith’s extraordinary tale of how he formulated and then completed an outrageous sporting challenge.

In an early reflection, Smith notes that: “I’d always seen myself doing something big. Not necessarily completing 401 marathons in 401 days big, but something where I would say afterwards: ‘That was different.’.

Imagine even contemplating two marathons on successive days, never mind running one every day for 57 weeks. In her foreword, marathon runner Paula Radcliffe points out that even at her peak she ran no more than 151 miles a week; Ben Smith did 180 miles every week for more than a year.

Smith’s personal trainer thought his client was mad and told him his body would ‘shut down’ after 60 successive marathons, but the daily injection of the 26.2 mile drug became the vehicle that drove Smith to his soul-cleansing salvation.

Salvation? Yes. You see, the author was bullied to such a degree as a child that the experience bothered him well into adulthood. Even with a loving wife, big house, car, career and money, he was never content; knew there must be something more than a job that was ‘draining my soul’.

Deep down, Smith understood that unless he effected a radical change in his life, things would continue as they always had. Many millions of people have thought along similar lines, but Smith was brave enough to do something about it.

401 is not a book about running per se, nor does it provide a chronological list of where he ran, replete with finishing times and dietary details. Running provided the means through which Smith found a form of contentment and happiness, but readers will sense that the sport he chose could just as easily have been swimming, cycling or ocean rowing.

The message this book delivers is actually quite simple: anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it, but readers will be delighted that Ben Smith spends 250-odd pages filling in the detail.


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