Benjamin Smith, 33, will run 26.2 miles every single day for 13 months to raise funds for anti-bullying and equality causes in the UK.
Mr Smith, from Bristol, wants to raise £250,000 for Stonewall and Kidscape. His 10,000-mile run is the distance from London to Sydney.
Smith was bullied while at school, but after coming out as gay and discovering a passion for running, he says he is happy and wants to help others.
“They are two charities which are close to my heart,” Mr Smith, an account manager, said.
“I was quite badly bullied at school for eight years. I came out as gay a couple of years ago. Since I came out, I’ve never been happier and that gave me the strength to believe in myself.
“I ran my first marathon three years ago. I got hooked and went from strength to strength. I got my confidence back and my self-esteem.”
The preparation for the 401 challenge began two years ago and Mr Smith ran 18 marathons in 2014. “It was to see what my limitations are, what my ability is,” he said. “I also started to get people on board, like chiropractors and physios. Last year was about building confidence. I needed to get sponsors on board and health professionals on board.”
Mr Smith, who begins his challenge on September 1, explained the significance of 401. “I looked at running a marathon every single day for a year — so 365 marathons,” he said.
“But I’m a bit OCD, as I think most runners are. So I liked the idea of rounding it up and adding the last one as a victory lap.”
He will traverse 309 locations throughout the UK and the majority of his marathons will be organised by UK running clubs. Only nine will be official marathons, and Bournemouth will be the only event he runs twice (for his 34th and 398th marathons).
“I ran Bournemouth last year and I loved it,” Mr Smith said. “My other half is doing his PhD at Bournemouth University, so we have an affiliation with it. It’s also where I met my head physiotherapist and we’ve been best friends ever since”.
To follow Mr Smith’s challenge, go to www.the401challenge.co.uk