Day 191 – Wilderness East, Western Cape, South Africa, a power cut
I’ve now travelled 1,200 miles in my little hire car along the Garden Route in South Africa. Today I abandoned it for a while and went on foot and by boat to do some exploring without the hum of the Polo’s tiny 1.1 litre engine buzzing in my ear.
Question: What do you do when the town you’re staying in loses all power for two days? No time for admin, no Wi-Fi, and my phone on it’s last legs…
Answer: Get in a kayak and paddle up stream for hours into nowhere. Jump out, listen to the world in silence, explore the wilderness in a windy storm, and paddle back, fighting an even windier return.
Gently paddling through the reeds upstream I eventually hit a dirt track and then a waterfall, high in the mountains. This was the best way to spend the day.
I am loving these days of rest, although my shoulders and arms are now feeling it from battling the head wind coming back. My legs are, however, fully fit and ready for tomorrow’s 60th marathon.
Kayaking is so peaceful and gentle but I always forget about the sore hands and splashes of icy cold water that leave you soaking wet. Oh, and my beloved bags which I’ve been carrying with me the entire journey came with me despite the potential dangers of carrying thousands of pounds worth of photography and video equipment in a tiny kayak, with me at the helm. A stupid move in hindsight, but they all made it back in one piece.
I managed to do some scenery shots for the documentary today too. On top of all the logistics of this never-ending challenge I’m very lucky to have a production company involved that is producing a documentary about this journey. A few members of the production crew join me from time to time in various countries. Generally, though, I shoot most of the content, but I do manage to palm my cameras off to anyone who is willing to help. I also have the drone that I can set up to follow me as I run, or, like today, it gently followed me above the trees and mountains as I paddled in my little yellow kayak below.
Day 192 – Wilderness National Park, South Africa, heading east
I decided not to run today, mostly because I found a great route that would be fab at sunrise, but also because I had the option not to, which I so rarely have on this trip.
I made my way about 200km east to another sleepy town along the Garden Route. This area is surrounded by loads of lakes and thus an equal number of bridges – perfect for a sunrise trot.
Over the past week I’ve been searching for the best place to go in the hunt for whales. Although I briefly saw some I was yet to photograph any, so today I found a local boat that goes out at 12pm every day. Already too late I arranged this for tomorrow. Keep an eye out. Fingers and fins crossed, please.
I then nestled into an armchair in a local pub in an attempt to catch up on what feels like mountains of work. It’s a careful balance to keep on top of all my admin. Today was all about catching up on the blog. You can now read the first 11 weeks of the journey… loads more photos and extra little stories along the way. Each post captures one week, about 40 photos and loads of hopefully interesting reading. Although time consuming, I love my blog. It’s a great way to keep track of everything. I’ve been writing it for over six years now. A big thanks to my editor Dawn, who carefully irons out my sleepy typos and terrible spelling. Take a look at www.nickbutterrunning.com
I’ve had a few questions about my kit so today I’m going to start a weekly kit overview, just a few items every week.
Today’s kit: Items 1–3 of 142
- Scarpa trainers – these are more like hiking boots. Whenever I’m not wearing my running trainers I wear these. They keep my feet safe with a supported hard sole. They are also waterproof, unless you accidentally step in a lake – they can only handle so much.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – this camera goes everywhere with me. I’ve taken over 50,000 photos so far, plus over 1,500 videos for the documentary.
- Pulsin – my nutritional bar of choice. They very much keep me going for the entire journey – vegan, tasty and light.
Day 193 – Knysna, South Africa, Marathon 60/196
I NEED YOUR HELP IN EUROPE. My Europe phase of the journey isn’t that far away. Read down for dates! PLEASE COMMENT OR TAG IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW MIGHT HELP.
EUROPE IS CALLING. Let me make a plea to all of you! From 30th August I will be starting my first leg of Europe. If you want to come and run with me or have a contact who might be able to help in some way or organise runners, please let me know. I will also have a member of the camera crew with me, filming for the documentary. After the first leg of Africa I then return to Africa for the final push through the central column; these are the dangerous places like the Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic.
Here’s phase one of Europe:
31/08 – Barcelona, Spain
02/09 – Andorra
04/09 – Nice, France
06/09 – Monte Carlo, Monaco
08/09 – Vatican City
09/09 – Rome, Italy
12/09 – San Marino
16/09 – Berlin, Germany
19/09 – Prague, Czech Republic
21/09 – Vienna, Austria
23/09 – Bratislava, Slovakia
25/09 – Budapest, Hungary
After my longest rest of the expedition I was back in my trainers and running my 60th marathon of the trip today. Oh boy it felt good – perfect blue skies, a crisp afternoon air and a cool breeze on my face. Shades on, trainers laced up, and with fresh legs and a rested body, for the first time in a very long time I ran with so much energy.
Reminder: PLEASE DONATE EVERYONE. I desperately want to hit this £250,000 target for Prostate Cancer UK. We need to stop men dying. I had plenty of time to think about my mate Kev and all the other men and families affected by this brutal cancer today. Just a few quid from everyone will help. Please visit the JustGiving page and see what it’s all about. The team @prostatecanceruk do such great work.
I ran at 3pm today so I could have a lazy breakfast and then watch the sunset as I ran around this beautiful village complex made of up luxury islands surrounded by lakes and the ocean.
Day 194 – South Africa, the day of the humpback whale
Today went like this:
Back up photos
Go find some whales
Bob around in the ocean
Marvel at the beauty of the whales
Take lots of photos
Drive to the next city
Drive through dense bush fire smoke
Dodge baboons in the road
Eat pizza in a pub shack
Sleep in a lush lodge
The gentle mammoths of the ocean are now my favourite animals. Their footprint is something I never considered but will never forget. Although they don’t have feet for footprints they certainly still leave a trail – the photo below is an example of what they leave behind after coming to the surface, which can stay around on the surface for up to 4 minutes. We waited for hours, 8 miles offshore. The sound of them blowing is just so unique and powerful. We tracked them deep into the ocean heading south towards Antarctica – thanks to Kynsna Whales.
It would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday today. I’m shocked at how South Africa is still so segregated, black serving white. It’s blatant and makes me uneasy. Having said that I hate to think what it would have been like without the efforts of the anti-apartheid movement.
I’ve had some questions come in about advice… so here’s my number one piece of advice. I’m no expert, and as we know by now, I don’t often follow the rules, but I do believe in the power of sleep. Sleep and rest make a huge difference. Sleep is king. Not just on this trip, but when competing or training too. It’s great for the brain to reset the body. There’s a brilliant TED talk about sleep – I think it’s called ‘The power of sleep’ or something similar.
After yesterday’s run I feel great. Turns out that I find it really easy after six days of rest. These last 194 days have been a hard slog and it’s only going to get harder. I relish the challenge, but looking at the month of September I have virtually no time between runs in Europe – a marathon every 2.2 days on average.
If you’re a runner and have advice for me and for others, please leave a COMMENT.
Day 195 – Tsitsikamma, Eastern Cape, South Africa, the big tree
Today went a bit like this: big tree, suspension bridge, surfing, 50’s diner, steak, waves, fire pit, pool.
I’m slowly but surely working my way north east along the Garden Route. It feels strange to have so much time in one country. I love it, but I am getting itchy to start country-hopping again. The time to relax is always filled with as much as possible. Anyone who knows me well will understand that I have to be busy and fill my days. It’s my mantra or ethos of life, I guess. Today was no different.
Staying in this quirky backpackers’ hostel we all had breakfast early. Imagine a big American 50’s diner, red and white frontage and lots of posters of dead musicians – RIP the King. Love a bit of Elvis. I am, however, in a national park in the middle of nowhere! All I can hear are baboons and loads of noisy birds. And here, slap bang in the middle, is this garish diner. Very very odd!
I downed the breakfast milkshake, removed all evidence of the huge chocolate cake from my face and made the short journey to find a very large tree. This tree is over 1,000 years old… And that’s about it, a very big tree. Nothing else to say, I’m afraid.
Spending the day by the beach I played around with the drone through the canyon and ran along a super-long suspension bridge over the river mouth. After some #surf, and a brilliant steak dinner a bunch of us were left mesmerised at the ocean once again. We ate and watched the #waves from a little pop-up steak house on the rocks.
Later this evening we sat around the fire pit in the hostel. I felt old compared to all the youngsters doing shots and flirting with very little clothes on (it was cold enough for me to have three layers on!). I sipped my hot cocoa and smiled to myself, listening to their conversations. I did, however, thrash them at pool! Turns out that an extra 10 years of playing pool gives you an advantage.
Oh, and I had some exciting news: my team let me know that I’ll be speaking at the New York Marathon Expo later in November.
Day 196 – Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, Camp Fire Friday
A day of symmetry – the 196th day of my mission to run a marathon in every country in the world. ALL 196!
I drove about 200km further east today, with vast orange farms lining either side of the bumpy and empty highway, my little silver Polo being shaken around on unmade gravel tracks. The blankets of green rolling hills with splatters of polkadot orange went on for hours. Power lines stretched high above the road and disappeared into the distance, the odd tidy nature of perfectly straight electricity cables stretching for miles with windy bumpy roads below. Music on, windows down, wind in my hair (long and now very knotty).
After some initial hassle with some very naff accommodation, I eventually arrived around midday at a friendly lodge in the Addo National Park, home to over 700 elephants.
The evening was drawing to a close so I sat by the crackling camp fire and got on with some work. The sun went down, the animals went to sleep, and the preciously calm silence filled the courtyard – just the crackle of firewood and some hyperactive frogs in the distance.
Despite the occasional luxuries and the frequent exhaustion of this trip, work will always continue. By work I mean tending to the necessary tasks of the expedition – checking in with the team, charging the sat phone, understanding upcoming safety risks and, of course, continuing the labour of love, the new #wonderFULLmagazine
If you missed my recent post, check out the Insta page @wonderFULLmagazine or visit http://www.wonderFULLmagazine.com – do you have a story to tell? Comment or tag someone who’s doing something #wonderFULL
Today’s summary goes a bit like this:
Accommodation: Addo Wildlife Lodge
Accommodation review: 5 stars
New friends: Dutch family, super-lovely
New animals: crocodile, meerkats, emu
Food: Seafood and butternut risotto + chocolate fondant for dessert, #obvs
Thought of the day: What do you want your legacy to be?
Day 197 – Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, Addo the elephant
In my final few days of rest before returning to the full-on nature of this expedition I was blessed to see these beautiful creatures wandering past me today.
I’m approaching 200 days on the road, and so I want to dedicate today to everyone who has donated so far! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Have you donated? If YES, comment with the phrase ‘I’ve donated, have you… (tag your friend)?’
As you all know my aim is to raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. My mate Kev has terminal prostate cancer and was given as little as two years to live. This world record trip is for him and for all the men and families suffering.
As of today we have about £31,000 in the pot. Once again, A BIG THANK YOU, if you’ve donated already – £31k is about 12% of my target, but I’m already 29% through my journey. By my calculations I’m short by about 17%. This means I’m £42,000 behind target. Right now I really want to see a boost. Just £5 or $5 or €5 will make all the difference.
Donating is easy:
Step 1: Open Google and type ‘NICK BUTTER JUSTGIVING’
Step 2: Read about the journey so far and why I’m raising money for prostate cancer
Step 3: Give just a few pennies, PLEASE
Step 4: Beg and plead with all your friends to do the same
You may think your £5 won’t help, but it will.
An even easier way is to donate via text: text NRTW89 £10 to 70070
If you’re interested to know what I’ve brought to the table, the answer is simple. Everything!!!!! All my energy, two years of planning, abandoning my life; I’ve spent every penny I’ve worked for, sold possessions, held countless fundraisers, practically begged my family and friends to lend me money, and obviously I’m putting my body through nearly 700 days of marathons. And I won’t rest until I reach that target.
I’ll tell you more about today tomorrow…
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
Social Media: http://www.runningtheworld196.com | Twitter @nickbutterrun | Instagram@nickbutterrun
Sign up to the Virtual Challenge: https://etchrock.com/challenge/buy-ticket/running-the-world-196
Promotional Video: https://vimeo.com/228583946