Since January 6th Nick Butter has been running a marathon in 63 countries. He now “only” has 133 countries to go. The expedition will be completed November 11th 2019. By the end of the year Nick will have completed 100 marathons, one for each and every country he has been in so far. It’s all part of his expedition to raise awareness and raise funds for prostate cancer.
“Next year will get even tighter. Travel, Run, Rest, Travel, Run, Rest Repeat.” Nick says.
Soon he’s be coming to Europe, the dates for phase 1 follow below (arriving dates). Anyone can help Nick out, and you can do it in four ways. You can run with Nick, give him a place to sleep, ask your friends to help or sponsor a marathon. Nick’s e-mail address is email@example.com and if you want to donate, do the following: Text NRTW89 £5 to 70070
30/08 – Spain, Barcelona
01/09 – Andorra, Andorra
03/09 – France, Nice
06/09 – Monaco, Monte Carlo
07/09 – Vatican City, Vatican City
09/09 – Italy, Rome
12/09 – San Marino, San Marino
13/09 – Germany, Berlin
18/09 – Czech Republic, Prague
20/09 – Austria, Vienna
22/09 – Slovakia, Bratislava
24/09 – Hungary, Budapest
Keep reading to find out what Nick’s past couple of days have been like. They include marathons, airports, lions, bungee jumps and other insightful observations and thoughts.
So after my short uncomfortable stop-over in jo-berg last night, I left early today and jumped on a very bumpy plane to meet up with my friend and client Susan. A fellow runner, I’ve coached Susan for a while. She has also lived here in Zim for several years. Not only making the trip but she has also very kindly arranged sponsorship and a lovely hotel. Special thanks to ZTE for supporting.
Today was a very full on day. I am now falling asleep watching the monkeys and baboons play on the balcony with the sound of the crashing water of Victoria falls in the distance. The alarm is set for 05:00 for an early dusk marathon.
Here’s part 2 of 3 of my bumbag contents: did you guess right?
The last few items in tomorrow’s post
He fell over! It turns out, even after running nearly 35,000 miles in my life, and 62 marathons on this trip alone I still haven’t managed the art of putting one foot in front of another. What an idiot I was today. Mile 2, I went and tripped over a tiny bump in the road. Bruised all over and sore but just scratches really. We bandaged me up, we continued with my bleeding limbs for 24 miles.
Susan and I had such a great run with support from Emmanuel our driver. We stopped off in a local shop, filled the car full with water and snacks and headed into the heat of the day. We spent 99% of our run jogging through the national park alongside Victoria falls. The roar of the water falling over the edge of the falls, the mist overhead and animals in the bushes. We ran just feet away from elephants, monkeys, impala, kudu and warthogs. Plus the famous Victoria falls. Such a treat. It was the elephants that distracted me from running and therefor went flat on my face. Fortunately my ninja reflexes kicked in and I didn’t hurt my knees or my face. Just bashed my hip and right shoulder. No sympathy please. I was on a flat road. Ninja skills need to improve.
Susan did a great job running her second ever marathon, and did so making it look super easy. I’m a proud coach. In reality I’ve been a crap coach recently because I’m away, and yet she’s still kept up the training.
We rewarded ourselves with a great meal and met up with some of her friends afterwards. We ate dinner overlooking a gorgeous sunset with hundreds of water buffalo drinking at a watering hole. A brill day! — Tomorrow find out if I have the guts to do a bungee jump. I plan to enjoy the rest of the day at the falls, hopefully taking some great pics.
I’m now sitting up in bed absolutely knackered from the past couple of days. It’s only 21:00 here but my eyes are shutting. This morning started with an early explore around Victoria Falls. The sun was out, the birds were making their noises and the falls were a peaceful tune to the day. A double rainbow arched over the gorge with the mist flying high. This is the tallest waterfall in the world. The water crashing down and then up again results in a very rainy spectators spot on the cliff edge. I was soaked.
After staring wide eyed at the amazing waterfall we headed to the bridge. This is where idiots chuck themselves off with some elastic around their ankles. (No offence Susan). The Zambezi river is at some points sandwiched between the Zambia and the Zimbabwe borders. We crossed the border from Zim to Zam in about 20 minutes. Walking on foot and forgetting I needed my passport, I managed to talk my way through the border control and over the bridge. I was now in Zambia with my passport and all my belongings in Zimbabwe.
The next little pitstop of the day started with a loud and startling shout of ‘get down, get down on the floor’! Alarming to say the least, especially on a bridge, in Zambia without a passport. It turned out a swarm of ‘killer bees’ were hurtling our way. As we all know, if bees swarm they are finding somewhere to land. If they happen to decide that you are their landing spot, it’s not going to be a great day.
I then chickened out of the bungee jump for now. My thought process was that I have so many things I want to do, let’s not die now and get eaten by crocodiles. Besides I was terrified just walking over the bridge. Not a fan of heights. Maybe one day. — I’ve not long returned from a brilliant evening having dinner along the Zambezi river. Wide, fast flowing and with hippos and crocs lining the banks. The sun fell below the horizon, the animals packed their trunks and disappeared into the trees. Tomorrow I fly!
Some days on this expedition I have been utterly terrified, so knackered, sore, grumpy and lacking food… some days though I’ve be smiling from ear to ear. Today was one of these days. A special thanks once again to ZTE and Susan for sponsoring.
Phase 1: Helicopter – After an early alarm, shower and breakfast I made my way to the helipad about 5 miles down the road. The view above one of the seven natural wonders of the world was… well, wonderful. The land just stops like someone’s taken a knife and chopped a clean line through the landscape. Placing the sound cancelling headphones over my ears I watched from my little bubble in the sky in silence. I wish I could have hovered their all day. Thanks to Jane for sorting this.
Phase 2: Bungee – Once I’d come down from my literal high, I was then in an excited yet terrified mood to go and jump off a bridge. Obviously with a hefty piece of elastic attached. What most of you may not know is that despite being a pretty good skier and an average climber I’m really terrified of heights. Walking over a bridge just feet from the floor or climbing a ladder, I’m stupidly scared. I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to. (Nothing wrong with a Robbie Williams quote) In the interest of leading by example and embodying the ‘spend as much time as possible out of my comfort zone attitude’ I decided to give it a go. The view though from hanging upside down under the bridge that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe was amazing.
Phase 3: Lion – The adrenaline subsided eventually and I was making my way to one of my last possibilities to see a lion up close. After some snacks and a safety briefing, a small group of us went into the bush. Accompanied with a man with a gun and a few sticks we went looking for lions. More photos of Lions in tomorrow’s post. So great to see young cubs play up close.
Tomorrow, country 63, Swaziland
(Johannesburg pit stop, again)
Travelling all the time means lots of airports; with that in mind if you have any favourites that I‘ll be passing through let me know. I feel like airports are my home at the moment. Despite some being totally rubbish, disorganised, poorly managed and dirty; others are like a haven for food, aircon and WiFi.
You can’t go anywhere around here without flying into Johannensburg airport. The flight times also mean it results in a stop over. I’m quite a fan of the airport, which is handy considering this was the 5th time I been there in just a few weeks. The airport is strange in one way though; all the bins are far too high. It’s like someone’s given the construction workers a plan but forgotten to mention that they need be accessible by everyone. Currently; children, anyone in a wheel chair, and short people don’t stand a chance. I call them the Giraffe bins.
Today I said goodbye to Susan and made my way to Swaziland. I did some sorting out of washing, bought a new snazzy little day bag and managed to finally upload some backup data to the cloud. Not a day filled with crazy activities but as always on this trip, these days feel great. It’s rest and a time to mentally and literally file things away and prepare for the next step.
Here’s a few more item I carry with me in my awesome bumbag.
I’ve been to Johannesburg airport more times this year than I’ve spent nights in my own bed. I still love airports though- I must be weird.
A quick flight on a tiny bumpy plane and I was in Swaziland by 10:00. It’s safe to say there is little or nothing here. Very similar to Lesotho but with less people (which I really didn’t think was possible). The airport was abandoned, the roads empty and the fields full of sweet smelling sugar cane. It took me 40 minutes to get to the hotel by taxi, of which I napped for about 20 minutes.
I’m staying up in the north east of the country very close to the Mozambique border. The small settlement here is 99% sugar cane worker with one big factory in the distance bellowing out fumes. It’s quiet, eerily peaceful and empty. I kinda like it, I think.
A non eventful day but it did mean I was able to catch up on sleep. The hotel was a large complex of very old and poorly maintained bungalows. The staff were virtually mute and there can’t be more than about 4 other guests. Naturally they put me in a room situated furthest from the WiFi which meant an afternoon of banging my head against a wall.
Despite the lack of anything here, I’m just about to drift off to sleep at about 8pm. Win! I’m looking forward to a gentle run in the sun tomorrow. Number 63.
Here’s the last few items of my bumbag! Gosh i carry a lot in my front kangaroo pouch. (no pun intended)
Completed my 382nd all time marathon today. My 63rd time running 26.2 miles this year. By the end of the year I should have completed 100 marathons as part of this expedition, one for each and every country I’ve been to so far. A marathon every 3.5 days for the rest of the year. Next year will get even tighter. Travel, Run, Rest, Travel, Run, Rest Repeat.
Everyone always asks about my knees; or how I stay injury free; if I’m honest I don’t really do anything or really know why I’m no hurting more. I suppose the answer is practice and perseverance. Having run with broken bones in the desert, vomiting every few miles on a rainy day in Eton Dawny, or being chased by dogs up a mountain in Bolivia; we are the sum of our efforts. Just practice I guess. In the words of Mo Farah, if you want to do something better, do it more.
But to answer ‘are my knees ok?’ Yes, they are a little screwed from lots of skiing and various falls; and such my cartilage isn’t all there, but the question shouldn’t be about the body. My mind is what I’ve had to train the most, and am still doing so. It’s only going to get tougher
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