Ben Smith, who transformed his life through running and completed 401 marathons in 401 days to raise money for anti-bullying charities, has signed up to run this year’s Prince Bishops Durham City Run in July.  Smith is also helping to inspire novice runner Hilary Snowdon, who has decided to tackle her first race in Durham to support the event’s official charity, the If U Care Share Foundation.

In 2015 and 2016, Ben Smith completed 401 marathons in as many days, raising over £315,000 for Kidscape and Stonewall, two charities that tackle bullying in society.  During his challenge, Ben spoke at schools up and down the country to tell his story and help educate young people about issues relating to bullying. Several of Ben’s 401 marathons took place in the North East, including one in Durham on his birthday.  His achievements were later recognised with Pride of Britain and Sports Personality of the Year awards, and he has just published his first book, ‘401’, which describes his experience of being bullied and how he dealt with that. Invited by race founder Steve Cram, Ben has agreed to run in the Prince Bishops Durham City 10K on Wednesday 18 July.

Hilary Snowdon, 54, from Newcastle, lost her husband Ian to suicide in October 2014 and became aware of the work of the If U Care Share Foundation a few months later.  Since then, Hilary has been a regular supporter of the charity, but had never considered running until she shared the news that the foundation would be the official charity of the 2018 Prince Bishops Durham City Run.  A Facebook friend challenged Hilary to take part in the event herself and she has now signed up to run in the 5K.

After running the London Marathon on Sunday, Ben was in Durham today to have a look at the Prince Bishops Durham City 10K route and promote his book.  He met Steve Cram and Hilary Snowdon, as well as Matthew Smith, who helped found the charity after his brother Daniel committed suicide, and who will also be running in Durham in July.  Ben Smith continues to campaign and help educate young people about a variety of issues, some of which the If U Care Share Foundation also addresses through its work in Durham and the wider region.

Ben Smith comments: “I cannot wait to come back to Durham and take part in the Prince Bishops Durham City Run.  Durham holds a special place in my heart after visiting a number of times during The 401 Challenge and meeting some incredibly supportive people who helped us achieve our objectives.  To come back and have the honour of taking part in this great event is fantastic, especially because it will also highlight and support the amazing work that the I U Care Share Foundation does.”

Hilary Snowdon adds: “Up until now, I have never run in my life, so taking on the Prince Bishops Durham City 5K is really going to take me out of my comfort zone.  It was great to meet Ben today – his story is inspirational and helps make me believe that I can achieve my goal of running the 5K for this brilliant charity. I became aware of the If U Care Share Foundation a few months after Ian took his life.  The foundation does some incredible work with young people and this is a cause that is very close to my heart, so I am determined to complete my run in July.”

Steve Cram comments: “Ben has become a great friend since I met him during his epic challenge.  He continues to be a huge source of inspiration for so many people and we’re thrilled that he will be joining us for the Prince Bishops Durham City Run this year.  It was great to introduce Ben and Hilary to each other today. Ben was able to offer some great encouragement and tips for a novice runner, and I was able to contribute a few pieces of advice too!  I am positive that Hilary will achieve her aim and raise loads of money for the If U Care Share Foundation in the process.”

The 2018 Durham City Run will take place on Wednesday 18 July and is being organised by Events of the North, supported by Durham County Council, and with Prince Bishops Shopping Centre as headline sponsor.  This year, the event will have different start locations for the 10K and 5K races, adjacent to Millennium Square and in the market place respectively. As in previous years, both runs will finish on Palace Green at the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.

Other confirmed partners for the 2018 Prince Bishops Durham City Run include Durham City Physio and Best Bar None.  Places on the events are now available at www.durhamcityrun.com.  The Durham City Run 10K costs £24 to enter for unaffiliated runners and £22 for members of clubs (affiliated to UK Athletics).  The price for the Durham City Run 5K is £15 (£13 for club runners).  For the latest news about the Durham City Run, keep an eye on the website, find the event on Facebook and follow @DurhamCityRun on Twitter.  For more information about the If U Care Share Foundation, visit www.ifucareshare.com or call 0191 387 5661 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm).