Ben Smith

Ben Smith is a social entrepreneur, mental health charity founder, award winning global adventurer, fundraiser, author and inspirational speaker.
FEE : £1k – £3k+

TOPICS:

Ben Smith is a social entrepreneur, mental health charity founder, award winning global adventurer, fundraiser, author and inspirational speaker.

From attempting suicide twice to running 401 marathons in 401 days, we challenge you not to find something in Ben’s life story that isn’t relatable.

As a speaker, Ben is extremely open and honest and his story is one of genuine courage and determination which has, to date, inspired over 264,000 people and helped drive genuine cultural change in some of the world’s biggest organisations.

Growing up Ben suffered at the hands of bullies. It had a huge and lasting impact on both his confidence and self esteem. At 13 he discovered he was gay but felt the need to cover this up through fear of being attacked. At 18, then again at 21 he tried to take his own life because he saw no other way out.

Throughout his 20s he led a life dedicated to pleasing others, successful on paper, at 29 he suffered a TIA (transient ischaemic attack) temporarily losing his sight, hearing, feeling in his left arm and speech. This was a huge wakeup call and he was left with two choices, either carry on or make a change, we’ll let you guess which one he chose.

At nearly 18 stone, a 40 a day smoker, heavy drinker, working 60+ hours a week in a job he didn’t really enjoy and covering up the fact he was gay, he decided to take the leap and come out. This set in motion a series of events that would lead him to become the happy and healthy person he is today.

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Sport for Ben was something he always avoided, never feeling as though he was good enough. Like many others he put up barriers and made excuses, mostly because he had no confidence or belief in his own abilities.

At 30 he was convinced by a friend to join a local running club and from day one he found something that gave him a focus, a way to express himself and a way to help him manage and deal with his mental wellbeing. It became a lifeline for Ben and helped him deal with many of the issues from his past.

In 2014, after finally coming to terms with his past, he vowed to take his past experiences and turn them into something positive. The 401 Challenge was born, a feat of endurance like no one had ever really seen before.

He set himself the goal of running 401 marathons in 401 days all around the UK, aiming to raise £250,000 for two anti bullying charities to help ensure young people didn’t have to go through what he went through as a child. He sold his house, bought a campervan and on 1st September 2015 he set off from Bristol on a mission that would end up inspiring hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to deal with their own pasts and question what is actually possible.

The project was a huge success and on 5th October 2016 he crossed the finishing line in Bristol having achieved something most people thought was not humanly possible.

Raising over £330,000 for both Kidscape and Stonewall, winning both the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award and National / Regional Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year Award in 2016.

The positive impact the project had had on people when it came to building their confidence and self esteem was the proudest achievement for Ben. In 2017 he set up The 401 Foundation, this became the legacy of The 401 Challenge and he’s only getting started. With another record breaking challenge on the horizon and the development of an app that will offer greater accessibility to mental health support for everyone in the UK, the next decade is going to be as exciting as his last.

Booking Ben for your event, whether that’s a regional meeting, large scale conference, after dinner speaker or event host, you won’t be disappointed. Ben’s ability to take a harrowing life story, flip it on its head and show people that anything is possible is both inspiring and emotional.

In a time where we are constantly having to look at how we do things in a different way, realising that change is even a possibility, is a massive step in the right direction.

Featured Topics Include:

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Mental Health
2
Overcoming Adversity
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Resilience
4
Self belief
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LGBTQ+
1
Mental Health
2
Overcoming Adversity
3
Resilience
4
Self belief
5
LGBTQ+
Individual-Speakers-Quote

Ben's talk to the students was amazing! You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium and the students found it both thought-provoking and inspirational. There were some really challenging issues raised to help students understand the power of their words and actions. Throughout, the students were mesmerised by the journey that Ben has taken, the obstacles he has faced and ultimately how he has overcome them and learned to deal with his past. We would thoroughly recommend booking Ben to speak at your school as he covers many of the issues young people face today. He is an inspiration to all, and we hope to work together moving forward."

The Nobel School - Nick Brown, Assistant Headteacher

Individual-Speakers-Quote

Ben was a huge hit on Friday! The children loved hearing all about his journey and he pitched his talk so appropriately to meet both their age and entertainment requirements. I loved how he got the feel of Yarrells so quickly and adapted his talk to fit our values and ethos. Ben was very personable, moving between seriousness and humour seamlessly; he was easy with the children and just brilliant at managing the ad hoc nature of the questions that came his way. Ben's message of not letting others and their words define you, but to define yourself in your own words and through your own actions was powerfully conveyed and I know it resonated with everyone in the room, children and adults alike. Ben's talk was a perfect presentation for our end of year celebrations and prize-giving."

Yarrells School - Sally Moulton, Headteacher

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