North East Connected

Marathon World Record attempt coming to Town

CaptureA MIND-boggling mega marathon challenge is coming to Middlesbrough – and the town’s runners are being urged to get involved.

Ben Smith is currently running 401 marathons on 401 consecutive days, and he’s looking for company and fund-raising support along the way.

Middlesbrough will be the stage for his 177th 26.2-mile challenge on Wednesday, February 24 as he attempts to break a world record.

The 33-year-old set out on his mammoth quest on September 1 last year, and his journey will see him run in more than 300 different locations around the UK mainland, covering more than 10,500 miles in all.

Along the way he’s raising awareness of the issue of bullying while hoping to meet a £250,000 fund-raising target for two charities dedicated to tackling the problem, Stonewall and Kidscape.

Ben’s Middlesbrough route was drawn up by local Swift-tees and NYMAC runner Iona Leigh-Jones who will be joining him on the day with local runners invited to join him along some or all of the course.

Full details of the run and approximate timings will be published in due course, but Ben is expected to start from the Town Hall at around 9.30am, before visiting local landmarks including the Riverside Stadium, Temenos, the Tees Transporter Bridge and Teesside University.

He’ll be running at a steady 11- to 12-minute-mile pace so runners of all abilities will be able join in – meet at the Town Hall at 9.15am for a 9.30am start, and stops are planned after around 10 miles at the Habinteg Centre in Hemlington and then at around 19/20 miles at Henry’s café in Stewart Park.

Organisers also hope to work with local schools and businesses along the route to spread his anti-bullying message.

Mum of two Iona said: “When I heard about Ben’s extraordinary challenge from a fellow Parkrunner and fund-raiser, I just had to get involved and do my bit.

“We have some great running clubs in Middlesbrough and lots of wonderful people who will be keen to help him reach his goal.

“It’s not just a mind-boggling world record – it’s a chance to make a real difference with some fantastic charities.

“I hope as many people as possible will sign up and keep Ben company – he can look forward to a very warm welcome from Middlesbrough.”

Details of his proposed Middlesbrough route can be found here:

Local runners hoping to join the run are asked to contact Iona at

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