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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > January 2017 > 401 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

401 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

For most of us, the thought of running one marathon is exhausting enough, but LGBT+ activist Ben Smith didn’t just run one – he ran 401. After suppressing his sexuality for almost 30 years, and attempting to take his own life on several occasions, Ben decided it was time to be true to himself and turn things around. Here, he tells us how he gave up his home, battled through depression, and faced multiple injuries to run more marathons than anyone else in the world – all in the name of charity.
IMAGE TOLU OSINNOWO

My childhood was pretty normal – well, as normal as it could be for a military child. I had a loving family and an adventurous spirit, so moving around a lot and seeing different countries helped nurture that part of me. Unfortunately, when I was ten, my parents made the difficult decision to send me away to boarding school – and that’s when the bullying began.

I started to figure out that I was different from the other kids when I was around 13-years-old, but homosexuality wasn’t really spoken about at my school. When it was, it was referred to as a sin, it was dirty, and gay people were sub-human. Obviously as a teenager you’ve got hormones going around your body and you’re a bit screwed up anyway, so to suddenly feel like you’re different, and that being different is wrong, it has a really negative effect.

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About Gay Times

New year, new you? In our fitness issue, former TOWIE hunk Charlie King gives his top tips for aligning body and mind, and unlocking your full potential in 2017. Also, in your brand new GT - we talk porn, drugs and why James Franco isn't a 'queer baiter' with King Cobra's movie director, Justin Kelly. GT gets the inspirational story of how Ben Smith battled suicide and depression to run 401 marathons and finally, we sent Chris Jones to lift weights and get fitness advice from rugby ace Chris Robshaw. It's a tough job…
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