'On Friday 6 October 2017, Ben Smith, the man who ran a marathon everyday for 401 days, came into Cokethorpe to give a very motivational talk to the Sixth Form about his life experiences and the 401 challenge.
Ben talked about his dreadful experiences at boarding school in England whilst his parents were with the Armed Forces in Germany. He was mentally and physically bullied by the other boarders and became depressed, with a sense of being unwanted and unworthy. Ben told us that by the age of 18, he was on the verge of taking his life, when his mother found out and immediately pulled him out of the school. Homeschooled, Ben was stuck so he turned to alcohol and drugs which then lead to him having a stroke at the age of 29. But through a friend, he was introduced to his running club and Ben started to run.
Ben embarked on a difficult new challenge of running a marathon, everyday, for 401 days. He visited 301 destinations of the UK to raise awareness of bullying and raise £250,000 for Stonewall and Kidscape. Ben smashed all his goals and raised £330,000 and ran the 401 marathons.
Ben now runs his own charity called the 401 Foundation and delivers motivational talks to colleges and schools across the country. The Sixth Form were very moved by the talk and many were inspired by his willingness to not give up, his resilience and how he positively turned his life around.'
Dominic House (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne)
'It was a real honour talking to the Sixth Formers at Cokethorpe School. I was welcomed with open arms and it was a real pleasure to speak to a group of open minded individuals.
I came away thinking positively about the effect these individuals will have on people's lives in the future. I believe the attitudes of the students is a direct reflection of the high standard of mentorship and teaching at Cokethorpe School and wouldn't think twice about coming back to share my story with the pupils in the younger years.'