The adventure for Rehband Athlete Ambassador, Nick Butter, is well underway. In a mission to fundraise and spread awareness for prostate cancer, Nick has embarked on a record breaking 550 day voyage around the world – 196 marathons in 196 countries. Along this journey Nick strives to appreciate and explore the parts unknown, leaving the world a better place than when he found it. This mission is almost completely outside the so-called ‘comfort zone’; requiring Nick to push himself to the limit and never sitting back to say “I’m finished”.
Nick’s discipline before the trip wasn’t marathon, it was ultra-running. That being said, his body is well prepared for long distance. “This trip will hopefully inspire young minds, old minds, any minds; that we can all do our bit to value the time we have on this wonderful planet. Even if our ‘bit’ is just being grateful for today”, he says.
How is your body feeling? How do you stay injury free? Do you warm-up?
I don’t warm up at all. If you’re running long distances then you don’t need to warm up, but you definitely need to warm down, that’s very important. There are a few things I do when warming down afterwards, making sure that you stretch a bit and ice your legs. Most of all it’s the IT-band.
Another thing is your gear. The compression socks, I wear them all the time, I love them and they completely save my calves. I used to wear a lot of thigh compression but I’ve now found that it just gets too hot in the humid countries and I feel like I’m just sweating too much. But the calf compression, specifically around my ankles and the Achilles area, the socks are just so good for it. I wouldn’t run without them now. I’d genuinely be scared that I was going to injure myself since I’m so used to the socks.
Any other good tips?
Basically warming down, icing, and obviously wearing your gear which I genuinely love. The last thing is not going too fast. Most injuries which people get from running are from doing hard sessions, training or going too fast for the race, so basically just go slowly. I’ve tried to finish every run without my legs hurting at all. Which often happens, every now and then. I’ve got a very weak left hand side of my left foot. It’s because I’ve broken it a few times so I’ve got to be careful with it. But other than that, you’ve just got to be aware of it, go slowly.
What keeps your motivation up? There must be moments when you’re extremely tired and don’t want to continue?
Yes, I’ve got some brilliant photos with me, visa, passports where I look so tired. Most of the time I’m pretty upbeat and I’m positive about things. I can get frustrated about people being stupid at airports and wasting time and that kind of stuff. The more tired you get the more kind of agitated you get. But most of the time I’m fine.
In terms of the motivation it’s pretty easy, obviously I’m doing this for prostate cancer and for Kevin. However that’s not the whole motivation, there’s a broader view to it.
“It’s the fact that everything I speak about when it comes to scores, or companies or whatever, it’s about living as if, don’t assume tomorrow is going to happen.”
If I get to the point where I’ve done 22 miles in a marathon and I think it’s hard and I’m lost and full of dust in my eyes, which happened a lot in Africa I think:
“Would I rather be sitting behind a desk in one of my old jobs or would I actually prefer to be seeing the world and seeing people and embracing the world and meeting people.”
It’s just a no brainer. The motivation comes from that the alternatives are just so much worse. I think it’s very easy to be motivated because I love it. Being grateful is a big motivator.
How do most people react when they hear your story?
The initial reaction is pretty bland and plain. Their reaction isn’t “Oh wow” because they don’t fully understand what I’m saying. I say:
”Oh I’m just going on this trip” and then I start to explain the intensity of the trip and “Yes I am actually going to every country” and everybody always ask, without fail “Really every country?” “Yes every country.” Once they understand exactly what I’m doing then they are either amazed or they look at me as if I’m absolutely crazy. Most of them are really interested in my journey.
Everybody I’ve met have been so great. I have to say though, as the trip has gone on, I’ve started to mention the trip less. If people ask, what are you doing? Then if I’m particularly tired at the airport, I can’t get into that full conversation. It’s not a 2-minute job explaining everything.
Since you’ve been around the world now. What would you say is your worst memory?
I think there are a couple of worsts. In Jamaica I was in a safe compound, I had water and everything and it wasn’t terrible, it was just hard. Then being mugged in Nigeria was horrendously scary. I’ve never really had my heart race that much.
One of the hardest points of the trip was actually country number five, Haiti. I had run in the Bahamas, had run in Miami, then a run in Toronto, which were are all westernized. Then I came to Haiti and it was a big culture shock. I was completely immersed in a different poverty level. Their culture was completely different and on top of that I hadn’t learned my lesson of not running in the middle of the day. I was running at midday and people were coming up to me trying to steal things.
Imagine the busiest station you can imagine and then fill it with mopeds and cars a well. I was just weaving through people for hours and hours and then it flattened out into a very dusty long road. Every mile felt like a week. I was so tired after my initial marathons and mentally I was getting into my stride. I was thinking: “What am I doing. I’ve got another 700 days of this and this is just crazy.” Then I finished the run and I felt accomplished. After that everything seemed to be easier.
“I think Haiti was one of the hardest mental battles.”
Nick is currently running in Europe, we look forward to hearing more from him. Text ‘NRTW89 £10’ to 70070 Support Prostate Cancer UK. To read more and understand all the details of the trip please visit. www.runningtheworld196.com
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