KEEP ON Follow in Ben’s footsteps: 1 The Stray in Harrogate, 200 acres of parkland in this beautiful spa town, a favourite for dog walking, games and relaxation. 2 Stanage Edge, the Peak District National Park, just outside Sheffield with running trails alongside rivers, reservoirs and through breathtaking moorland. 3 Vast expanse of golden sand at Kilnsea in East Yorkshire, great for spotting wildlife, simply stunning and at times secluded. 4 Coastline, countryside, castles and coves, the amazing 109 mile Cleveland Way offers perfect paths for running or a gentle stroll.
They say that running can be therapeutic, it can clear the mind and allow crucial thinking time. So just how did one man’s thoughts on a regular run in the picturesque spa town of Harrogate, lead to local lad Ben Davis, running almost 500 miles around Yorkshire in just 18 days? That’s over a marathon every day. Oh and 41,000 feet of elevation, higher than Mount Everest! Carolyn Nicoll caught up with Ben (he was static at the time) for the rundown. Why did you decide to run around Yorkshire? I’m a keen runner and I craved a new challenge. It had to be big, it had to be unique and it had to be an adventure. In the past I’ve had battles with depression and mental health issues, I felt isolated and needed to do something. I wanted to raise money for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably, that tackles male suicide. When did you get the idea? Whilst running around The Stray (200 acres of public parkland) in my home town of Harrogate, an area I’ve been exercising in on countless occasions. I was wondering what the biggest loop would be that I could run locally. Then it came to me; a lap of Yorkshire!
along the banks of the Thames and I knew I was going to finish and become an actual marathon runner. The incredible magic of that day was coupled with some uncertainty but also an intense relief at the finish line and I wanted that feeling again. The Dublin Marathon followed that same year and then in 2017 I ran six marathons, but I knew that I needed to up the stakes. I’d looked into multi-day marathons in various locations across the world but some would have ended up costing me thousands of pounds to enter and to get there. The answer turned out to be on my doorstep. I set off from Scarborough on 1 August 2018, Yorkshire Day, finishing in exactly the same spot eighteen days later.
When did you start running? Three years ago and it literally changed my life. I was about five stone heavier then and I was smoking a couple of packets of cigarettes a day. Something had to change. In 2016 I ran my first ever marathon, the London Marathon. I’ll never forget the feeling at mile 25, running
How did you feel before the challenge? Incredibly nervous. The whole thing had been built up so much and many people knew about the challenge. Although I’d trained heavily, I’d never run such a long distance before on consecutive days and I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it.