Day 184 – Meseru, Lesotho to Johannesburg, South Africa, and on to Cape Town, country number 60

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Balaclava lady, caves, and hiring my first car of the trip.

A new world first – a marathon in every country in the world to raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK #prostatecancerUK

The lady in the photo is 87 years old and lives in central Lesotho in the mountains. She sleeps in a small cave with three generations of her family. I visited her yesterday. She is a wonderful woman, calm, gentle and smiley.

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I travelled from the barren lands of Lesotho to the mountainous metropolis of Cape Town via Johannesburg. Today’s journey was simple and so different to the last few months. There’s almost an invisible line that separates this from the Africa I’ve experienced for most of the trip: street children washing in streams, frantic roads, dirt, poor infrastructure, and extreme poverty.

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Once I hit Namibia a few days ago everything changed; yes, there is still plenty of poverty, but it’s not the Africa I have begun to understand. If I squint a bit now I could be anywhere – roads, streetlights, cars without dents, people stopping at traffic lights, shops with walls and lights and air con – it’s so interesting seeing the vast difference.

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I reached Cape Town at about 5pm today and went through the usual, longer than necessary, process of hiring a car. I now have just over a week to relax and take in some sights along the Garden Route. This time has been built in to the trip to provide some rest for my body and if things were going very wrong I’d have a little buffer to catch up. As I’m feeling pretty good I’m going to enjoy these few days and be sure to rest and eat VERY WELL. I’ll then fly back to Joburg and on to Kruger National Park… ahhh, down time. I feel like I’ve come up for air. I even had time for a juicy steak. THE BEST STEAK OF MY LIFE. Yes, even better than Argentina. PS, thanks to @scarpa_uk for my shoes.

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Day 185 – Cape Town, South Africa

 

Animals seen today = 4 (CUTE WARNING ⚠)

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Animal 1 – whale. Driving along the coast south to Cape Point took about an hour. Having spotted a whale breaching a few times I stopped and parked up. This elegant giant of the ocean treated onlookers to four more breaches, his or her entire body launching out of the water and crashing back down again. Special to say the least.

Animal 2 – penguin. Meandering along the cliff edges towards the Cape of Good Hope right on the tip of the peninsular, I stopped off at a beach. The place was covered in penguins – bathing in sunlight or waddling in the shallows or darting around under the water. These little things are so cute, especially the young fluffy ones.

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Animal 3 – ostrich. Once I reached the stunning coastline of the Cape of Good Hope I was shocked at how big the waves were. Sadly it was too windy to take the drone too far out, but I could have sat there for hours just watching the waves crash, one after the other. The National Park closes at 6pm, so everyone needed to be out fairly quickly. This is where all the cars were pulling up alongside huge, and very healthy-looking, ostriches. They scare me. They do have longer legs, although they are equally spindly.

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Animal 4 – waterbuck. I’ve seen huge stags while hiking in the Alps and various other places, but these animals make the largest of stags look tiny – massive bodies and horns about 2-3 feet long. I spotted one high in the hills just as we were all exiting the National Park. After grabbing the camera and getting out of the car I realised we were surrounded by them. Cleverly hidden among the bushes these beasts were stealthily grazing. Sneaky, sneaky.

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Today was my first day exploring the beautiful coast of South Africa. I’m in some of the most southerly parts of the continent of Africa and wow, the water is blue, and there are mountains everywhere. Once again it’s different to all the other African countries I’ve visited so far.

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Day 186 – Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

A menu-less restaurant, a table-less Table Mountain and two green beans.

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Another chilled day today, although I did stretch the legs up at 3,000 feet on the world-famous Table Mountain. Once again I was treated to spectacular views and awesome little animals. The animal/bird count today is five:

Rock hyrax, also called rock dassie, rock badger or rock rabbit

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Lizard, Cordylus niger or black girdled lizard

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Seal – possibly the Cape fur seal?

Eagle, Verreaux’s eagle or the black eagle

Bird – no idea…

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A big thanks to SunGod for my new personalised sunglasses. And also a big shout-out to Athletic Tea Co. I drink this stuff nearly every day. If you want a natural alternative to a morning boost, give their green tea a go – the best tea I’ve ever tasted. The gang behind the brand are super-awesome too.

As I’m resting the legs for a few days, and I’m now in a country which offers more than just stale pastries and funny-looking rice with even funnier-looking ‘meat’, I am taking advantage of scoffing my face with tasty treats. Day one of my little break involved the best steak of my life and today I tried a really quirky restaurant in Camps Bay. No menu, just a fish counter. Pick your fish, pay by weight and add sides of potatoes and veg. My body feels like it’s super-relaxed now. You know that feeling of extreme exhaustion… well, I’m coming out the other side, I think.

I did, however, have a very funny experience for lunch. I also ate fish and ordered extra green beans as a side. I was delivered a grand total of two beans.

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This is country number 60 this year and my 186th day on the road. If you want to see all the routes, times, photos and stories, check out STRAVA. My page is called ‘Nick Butter Running The World 196’, or go straight to the expedition website for more updates and blog posts, at www.runningtheworld196.com

We have raised nearly £30,000 for Prostate Cancer UK thanks to your help. We still have a long way to go, though, but a huge thanks for all the support so far.

Day 187 – Robben Island, South Africa

Let’s not mention the football; instead, let’s focus on the legend that is Nelson Mandela.

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Today I visited the island and the prison where the great Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Staring into his prison cell I can’t really put into words how I felt. But I think my overall feeling was about sacrifice and bravery.

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A group of us were given a small tour of the prison and the island. A former prisoner who had spent five years of his life here showed us around. He had been imprisoned for the same reason as most – for being black and for standing up for himself. Not only that, but this man enters the prison every day to give tours to help continue educating people. Sadly the black–white divide in Africa, and notably in South Africa, is still prominent.

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I’m all about doing as much as possible in life and eking out every second of my days; I bang on about it all the time. And here I am, standing in the place where this great man was a prime example of just that. Even from a prison cell he did so much more than most of us could ever dream of doing.

So today’s post is dedicated to all the brilliant people who have sacrificed so much in the name of a free and fair society. Nelson was just one of many such brave and selfless souls.

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This anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader also served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. He also founded movements, earned a degree, campaigned to improve prison standards… and most of this from behind bars.

With this in mind, remember that we always have it within our power to be better, to do more and to be courageous in our beliefs and goals. Maybe take today to think about what you want your legacy to be. My ethos is to never wait for tomorrow to act – do it now. But I wish I had the courage of this man!

Day 188 – ANNOUNCEMENT

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** MAGAZINE LAUNCH **

First of all… I’ll tell you about today tomorrow – I’m too excited to tell you this first.

Over the past year or so I’ve slowly but surely been working on a new little venture. My mate Mike and I have started our very own super-awesome magazine.

WonderFULL Magazine #wonderFULLmagazine is about celebrating wonderful people doing wonderful things. It’s about building a genuine community of adventurers, explorers, fundraisers and photographers. All the content is dictated by you and your WonderFULL stories. No heavy advertising and instead, a luxury high-quality finish.

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GET YOUR WonderFULL stories to us. Your story could be in our first issue. All details are on our website.

This magazine will be released in January 2019 – one issue per quarter, thus four issues per year. We hope that this will become more of a collectors’ item rather than just a throw-away mag.

We don’t intend to make any money on the magazine for quite literally years, but aim to get more and more people out of their homes and into the mountains, oceans and forests, to make the most of our time on this wonderful planet.

Big projects, small projects and everything in between – everyone has a story to tell. By sharing you may help others enjoy our world too. Weekend breaks, world-first expeditions, ocean rows, paddle boarding down the Panama Canal, climbing Everest or an initiative to rid the world of plastic – anything goes. If it sounds wonderful, then shout about it in WonderFULL Magazine.

Visit http://www.wonderFULLmagazine.com for more info.

If you’re interested in receiving our first copy, COMMENT and TAG someone who might also be interested.

Our new insta page is @wonderFULLmagazine

Any thoughts, let us know.

Day 189 – Southernmost point of Africa, and a storm

Today I stood on the tip of the continent of Africa where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic, the most southerly point in Africa. It was blustery, the waves were awesome, and the storm was really fun.

Yesterday I worked my way inland for about two hours to visit a private game reserve and to enjoy a drive through the mountains. This was part of a longer drive along the Garden Route. Although the drive was fun, it was not without a couple of unexpected issues.

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A rather windy storm came in, the skies turned black and the mountains looked like I was entering the depths of hell. I climbed through the wine valley region and the wind increased further, as did the rain. Windscreen wipers on full power, squeaking as they do, I passed the first of many signs that read ‘DANGER, HIJACKING HOT SPOT, BE AWARE’.

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The roads were virtually empty and I was becoming more and more concerned. Having been careful in most places so far, I didn’t want to have my car and all my possessions taken from me and be left standing in the rain in the middle of nowhere.

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I was happy to reach the game reserve and managed to find a lovely lady who turned out to be the owner. She gave me a great deal – for £80 I had a bed for the night, which meant I didn’t have to do the return journey in the storm and sit on the edge of my seat for several hours worrying about getting hijacked. Phew. Not only could I stay the night in this beautiful reserve just metres from a hippopotamus watering hole, but the price included lunch, an evening safari, dinner and then another sunrise safari and breakfast in the morning. I call that a deal. Thank you.

After all of this I drove east and ended up in Agulhas. This sleepy village is where I sat and ate fish and chips in the rain watching the waves. I’m on what feels like the edge of the world. After working my way south from Morocco in the north of Africa, I’ve now run in every country along the west coast. Time to work my way up east, before completing the central strip. This, I am told, will be an even more dangerous bit.

Day 190 – Western Cape, South Africa, the road trip continues

Rest, running, recap, road trip.

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Today I continue my scheduled break in South Africa and my gentle road trip from Cape Town to Joburg. My legs feel rested and my mind is very relaxed compared to the hectic and fraught weeks in Western Africa, where I faced muggings and a dog bite.

My clutch foot was still put through its paces today after a 400km drive east up the coastline of the stunning mountainous landscape of the Garden Route.

If you’re just catching up, here’s the headlines – I’m running a marathon in every country in the world. On average I run a marathon every 2.4 days, with travel and rest days where possible. I’m now in my seventh month of my 23-month journey to cover all 196 counties in the world, and to be the first person to run a marathon distance in every country on the planet.

I’ve completed North, Central and South America including all the tiny islands in the Caribbean and around Central America. I also detoured briefly to run in North Korea, in the official Pyongyang Marathon. This was a 25,000-mile round trip from Peru to North Korea and back to Ecuador in just four days.

At the moment this is my second of five scheduled ‘buffer periods’ to rest my body and to catch up on any missed countries due to flight cancellations or unforeseen mishaps. It’s also a great time to spend more than just two days in a country. If I was injured in this scheduled down time I would let my body heal. Having narrowly avoided injuries along the way several times, I’m very glad to say that my short break in South Africa feels deserved. Having said that I’m itching to run again. Weird, I know; addicted is probably the word. I will be running my 60th marathon this year, in my 60th country, in a couple of days’ time, here, on the coastline of South Africa. I’ll then be moving on to country number 61, Botswana.

Today was all about the waves, the ocean and the coast. What a great drive along endless straight empty roads with nothing but fields full of ostriches and an ocean of skyscraper waves. Beautiful. I can’t believe I’m nearly 200 days in already.

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Nick Butter

British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer

Contact Details: 07754328355 | nick@nickbutter.co.uk | http://www.nickbutter.com

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