Written: 06.01.2018, 14:47 GMT, 35,000 feet up on a WestJet transatlantic flight from London, UK to Toronto, Canada

HERE WE GO – Checkout the New Expedition Website www.runningtheworld196.com

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January 6th 2018 is finally here. After so much planning, stress and worry, I can finally jump on a plane and begin my journey. It feels very strange to talk about this trip in the present rather than the future… But I continue to worry, am very nervous and simply hope to make it through the first few weeks without any major incidents.

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As major incidents go, having a plane delayed because your destination airport is cleaning up after a plane crash isn’t such a great start. After two years of planning, my very first flight, out of a likely 250, was delayed – which is an ominous start, but hopefully not a sign of things to come. I don’t believe anyone was hurt in the crash – two planes collided while on the ground – but there were flames, and obviously rather concerned passengers. I hope everyone is okay.

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06.06.2018, 04:30 GMT. My mum, dad and brother picked me up from Bristol, and drove the grey, dark miles along the M4 towards Gatwick. The conversation was mostly about the bits and pieces for the trip that still needed doing, but with the overall (unspoken) consensus that this was one hell of an undertaking, and we would all miss each other rather too much.

Missing family more because they’re further away is strange, I think, especially as with advances in technology we are so much closer to each other than ever before. And yet, I will and I do miss them. I managed to spend the entire year of 2015 without seeing my brother, and hardly missed him at all – sorry Chris! We were probably only about 50 miles from each other for about 300 days of that year, but it was knowing that he was only around the corner that made all the difference. There is something about boarding a plane and going far away from family that makes me sad not to see them. I wonder if I’ll learn more about what it means to miss people by the time I come home.

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So we arrived at Gatwick, and hurried to jump on a Skype call before going through Departures. Sky News wanted a few words about the trip, and it’s this kind of publicity that will make all the difference to raising the much-needed £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.

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As it turned out, I was hours early for an already heavily delayed flight, which meant I would end up going through security way too early, and feel pretty down in the dumps for missing my family… But before long, I gave myself a little pep talk, remembered why this trip is happening, and how incredibly lucky I am to be in this position.

‘Don’t count the days, make the days count.’

Before I knew it, I was feeling more chirpy and managed to scoff down some breakfast, thinking about Kev, and why this trip is for him and all those brilliant people I met in the desert nearly two years ago. So thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. I can’t really believe it. My team are awesome – along with all the sponsors and incredibly kind supporters, they are the people who have made this happen.

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Going through security I couldn’t make the self-serve check-in work, my bag was about 5kg too heavy, and I was tired and had a headache. This made the goodbyes to my family that much harder. It was emotional. Let’s leave it at that.

I find I’m nervous, even now; I’m never nervous like this. Why am I so nervous? I guess it’s probably the weight of expectation. I’ve spent about £150,000 of my own money, sponsors’ money and my parents’ money. I’ve set myself a huge target of £250,000 to raise for Prostate Cancer UK, and I have an almighty goal, to achieve something that has never been done by anyone in history. A marathon in every country in the world is going to be pretty tough. Oh, and the war zones, the constant fatigue and not knowing if I’m putting myself in danger, or if I’m just being paranoid. It’ll be tough, but worth it. Maybe I’ve answered my own question – I do know why I’m so nervous after all, but I hope that as the days go on, and the first few marathons are out of the way, I’ll be a little calmer and a little more relaxed.

Here’s the crew of the 7 hour West Jet flight.

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I’m looking forward to meeting a running club tomorrow in Toronto. A guy called Matt from Instagram contacted me; he’s pulling his running club friends together to do a gentle trot round the very cold and snowy city. I just hope I don’t fall over. Please don’t let me fall over, just yet…

So Day 1 is upon me. I’ll arrive in Toronto at about 20:00 or 21:00 GMT, which is about 15:00 Canadian time. Maybe I’ll venture out and take some photos.

View over Canada as we come into land

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Keep an eye on my blog – I’ll keep posting. But the more tired I am, the less I’ll post, and so the more support I’ll need, please!

Please take a look at my website, www.runningtheworld196.com, visit the Just Giving page and donate a few pounds if you can. If you can’t, visit anyway, have a look around, see my photos, videos, messages and all the stories about the trip. You can track me, order the expedition t-shirt and even follow the link to my podcast.

Please share the story. I’m on Instagram and Twitter @nickbutterrun or Facebook at Running The World 196.

Cheers

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If you haven’t read this blog before, please read ‘Background for New Readers’, which you can find below. For more info, read the FAQ section on the expedition website at www.runningtheworld196.com.

**Background for New Readers**

From January 6th 2018 to August 2019 I will be travelling around the world setting a number of world records and raising money for Prostate Cancer UK.

My aim is to raise £250,000 in support of my dear friend Kevin Webber, who has terminal prostate cancer. I wanted to do something special for him. I hope, between us, we can reach the target and also help raise awareness of this terrible cancer, which kills more men in the UK than any other cancer, with around one man dying from the illness every 45 minutes.

Please help by giving just a few pounds by texting NRTW89 £10 to 70070. Thank you.

By the end of this 550-day expedition I will have set a new world record for the first (and fastest) person to run a marathon in every country in the world, all 196 official United Nations-certified sovereign states. I’ll travel to every continent including the chilly Antarctica, running at altitude such as in the Himalayas and the Andes, and face diverse humanity, climates and cultures. I’ll have just 60 hours to land, find somewhere to stay, run a marathon, eat a bit, rest, and jump on a plane again… I’ll do this for every country on the planet. Starting in North America and working my way slowly, very slowly, east, completing my trip in the Oceania region before returning to the UK to run my final 26.2 miles in the UK in London in 2019.

Cheers

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