Day 212 – South Africa to eSwatini (aka Swaziland)
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 10am. It’s safe to say there is little to 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, 20 minutes of which I napped.
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 workers 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 is a large complex of very old and poorly maintained bungalows. The staff are virtually mute and there can’t be more than about four other guests. Naturally they put me in a room situated furthest from the Wi-Fi, 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 nearly 8pm. Win! I’m looking forward to a gentle run in the sun tomorrow – Marathon 63.
Here’s the last few items in my bum bag!
Spot Gen3 Tracker – This small device tracks my location at all times. You can see my progress via the website. Or take a look @polarsteps… and search for ‘Nick Butter’.
GoPro – Thanks to my latest sponsor GoPro for supporting the trip. Every bum bag needs a GoPro. It’s ideal for my sneaky shots through airports and border crossings.
Portable charger – A tiny but powerful RAVPower charger, up to eight full charges, and I use it a lot.
Priority Pass – As part of the help from American Express, I have access to every airport lounge in the world – the ones worth using, that is. Seriously useful.
Day 213 – Swaziland, Marathon 63
382 marathons, European dates, and ways to get involved.
I 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. 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 not 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 Dorney, 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 in answer to ‘are my knees okay?’ Yes, they are a little screwed from lots of skiing and various falls, and 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 I’m still doing so. It’s only going to get tougher.
Reminder – EUROPE – PHASE 1 DATES!
These are the dates I arrive in each country:
30 Aug – Spain, Barcelona
1 Sept – Andorra
3 Sept – France, Nice
6 Sept – Monaco, Monte Carlo
7 Sept – Vatican City
9 Sept – Italy, Rome
12 Sept – San Marino
13 Sept – Germany, Berlin
18 Sept – Czech Republic, Prague
20 Sept – Austria, Vienna
22 Sept – Slovakia, Bratislava
24 Sept – Hungary, Budapest
You can help in four ways:
- Come and run with me
- Give me a place to sleep
- Ask your friends to help me
- Sponsor a marathon
If you want to get involved, please comment or tag someone who can help. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the support everyone. On to country 64 tomorrow, Mauritius.
TEXT NRTW89 £5 to 70070
Day 214 – Swaziland, Rest day
Since January 6th this year I’ve ran a marathon in the following 63 countries. Only 133 marathons to go. My expedition will complete by November 11th 2019, in 472 days time…
1 – Canada, Toronto
2 – USA, Miami
3 – The Bahamas, Nassau
4 – Haiti, Port-au-Prince
5 – Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo
6 – Cuba, Havana
7 – Jamaica, Kingston
8 – Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain
9 – Grenada, St George’s
10 – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
11 – Saint Lucia, Bridgetown
12 – Saint Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre
13 – Antigua and Barbuda, St Johns
14 – Dominica
15 – Barbados, Bridgetown
16 – Mexico, Cancun
17 – Belize, Belize City
18 – El Salvador, San Salvador
19 – Guatemala, Antigua
20 – Honduras, Tegucigalpa
21 – Nicaragua, Managua
22 – Costa Rica, San Jose
23 – Panama, Panama City
24 – Colombia, Bogotá
25 – Venezuela, Caracas
26 – Ghana, Georgetown
27 – Suriname, Paramaribo
28 – Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
29 – Argentina, Buenos Aires
30 – Uruguay, Montevideo
31 – Paraguay, Asuncion
32 – Chile, Santiago
33 – Bolivia, La Paz
34 – Peru, Lima
35 – North Korea, Pyongyang
36 – Ecuador, Quito
37 – United Kingdom, London
38 – Morocco, Casablanca
39 – Mauritania, Nouakchott
40 – Algeria, Algiers
41 – Tunisia, Tunis
42 – Senegal, Dakar
43 – Gambia, Banjul
44 – Guinea Bissau, Bissau
45 – Ivory Coast, Abidjan
46 – Guinea, Conakry
47 – Sierra Leone, Freetown
48 – Liberia, Monrovia
49 – Ghana, Accra
50 – Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
51 – Togo, Lome
52 – Benin, Cotonou
53 – Nigeria, Lagos
54 – Cameroon, Douala
55 – Equatorial Guinea, Malabo
56 – Gabon, Libreville
57 – São Tomé and Príncipe, Quinta
58 – Namibia, Windhoek
59 – Lesotho, Maseru
60 – South Africa, Cape Town
61 – Botswana, Gaborone
62 – Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls
63 – Swaziland
Day 215 – Swaziland via Johannesburg to Mauritius
Curry, curry, curry, curry and another curry, oh, and nothing wrong catching a few winks next to the luggage trollies. Love airport life.
Today was a day of airports, and yes, you guessed it, curry. The sixth time, and the last time for a while, flying into Joburg. It’s strange how familiar everything is. I’m now friendly with the security staff and known by name in the American Express lounge. I even had my weird combo for breakfast – spicy chicken curry, rice, a hot chocolate… plus back for a strange sausage-like thing for dessert (plus some more curry). And yes, breakfast does have dessert. So when you wanna know what I eat… basically anything, at any time. Don’t judge me.
I spent five hours catching up on emails, scoffing my face and once again putting ‘hand to keyboard’ writing some more of the book. It’s amazing reminiscing about weird and wonderful events that happened during the early days of the trip, things I hadn’t become accustomed to. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I’m enjoying writing it.
I landed early evening in Mauritius after my longest flight for three months. On reflection, today was just a day of sitting around eating. A big thumbs up to Air Mauritius for a surprisingly delicious plane meal. My third chicken curry of the day! I then asked for seconds! Only 4pm and I had eaten four chicken curries. After losing nearly 10kg since I left the UK back in January, I needed to put some weight back on. Perfect, bring on curry number 5!
I’m staying in the far north west of the island in a beautiful hotel complex just beyond the beach. Thanks to the people at the Be Cosy Apart Hotel for supporting and giving me somewhere to stay!
My final meal of the day was a giant pizza. Sadly, not another curry. And yes, mum, this should be a sign that I am indeed eating enough!
Day 216 – Triolet, Mauritius
The 196 Foundation…
DO YOU WANT TO HELP?
It’s not like me to rest, and today is no different. Along with everything else that’s going on, a small group of brilliant people have been helping me move forward with my new Foundation. We are now registered but won’t officially launch for a while. I just want to share with you some updates on the project and get your FEEDBACK PLEASE.
It was always the plan to form some sort of non-profit or charity to help the legacy of this trip live on. The 675 days of this expedition are all about raising money for Prostate Cancer UK… but once the trip is complete I want the contacts, people and places I’ve come to know to be put to good use. The 196 Foundation is my way of helping the countless communities and people I’ve seen who need a leg up in life.
The official website, along with ways to get involved, will launch very soon…
Here’s the basics:
- We will provide support for existing charities, non-profits, volunteer groups and individuals.
- We won’t set up brand new initiatives but will instead support the work of others who need a little extra help.
- I am asking for anyone and everyone to donate £1.96 per month (just £23.52 per year) to the Foundation.
- Over a 12-month period we will find communities that need help. (I’ve already had three submit for help.)
- Once a year, every August, every donor gets the chance to vote on which group, community or charity we help.
- For every month you donate, you get one vote, so if you donate for 12 months, you get 12 votes.
- You donate, and you decide who you want to help…
- Finally, if you’re feeling hugely generous, you can volunteer your time to help implement the support.
- We tell you where your money went, who we helped and thank you.
- Then the process starts all over again, one project per year, supported and chosen by you.
From charities on your doorstep to far-flung initiatives all over the world, I have come to understand that many people need a leg up in life.
My dream is that the Foundation will grow in size and in a few years time we’ll have hundreds of donors. Will you support? #the196foundation
Day 217 – Triolet, Mauritius, Marathon 64
Marathon 64, country 64. Mauritius – ice cream, run, sun, beach, sea, ahhhhh, another great run!
There is so much to say about today. First of all, Mauritius is technically in the continent of Africa. But who on earth classified this country as Africa? In my mind, it’s Asia.
Running today I am literally smack bang in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I ran past Indian flags all day, spoke to Indian people, and lost count of all the sights, smells and sounds that make this place feel like, well, not Africa. I love it, and I’m shocked, really shocked. I wasn’t expecting it to feel so different. Even ignoring race and religion I really feel like I’m miles away from Africa. I suppose I am – I am literally miles away from the African mainland.
For me, after running around most of the northern part of the island, I now class Mauritius as a little bit French due to the language and the brilliant boulangeries and patisseries, a little bit like Thailand due to the crazy warm and beautifully peaceful beaches, and finally Indian, for the food, the people, the smiles and the fact it’s in the Indian Ocean.
The sun was out, I felt great, I evened up my tan, and I ran at least 80% of the run on sand. It was more difficult, but the beaches were too good to miss.
I was, once again, a little scared of the packs of dogs sleeping in the sun as I ran past. I love dogs – it’s just a shame being bitten has made me a little scared of them. I had my obligatory ice cream mid-run, and then finished the 26.2 miles by running straight into the bathwater-warm sea.
I’ve also just got back from picking up a hire car. Tomorrow I rest the legs and go explore down south.
Day 218 – Mauritius, The beautiful south
Road trip, kite surfing, swimming, surfing, and making new friends.
The noise of the wind in the kite, the waves spraying my face, and the sun piercing the clouds… it was such a great afternoon to spend playing in the ocean. Note to self… try harder not to end up with coral wedged in foot. Ouch.
I’ve had quite a few rest days recently, and that was by design; the team and I knew that by this time my body would need to chill, but every rest day I have, I seem to fill it with more fun things… In the back of my mind I also have a very, very hectic phase coming up in Europe. I hope you lot are going to be there to drag me around the European cities. If you haven’t seen my dates, check out the website http://www.runningtheworld196.com or read my recent posts. I’ve still got another 60 days in Africa, but that phase will happen after the Europe phase.
After a slow pootle down the west coast of the island I found a stunning beach that was a kite surfer’s paradise. I managed to buy a stupidly cheap Rip Curl rash vest for £12 (probably £60 back home), and so into the water I went. With the sun setting I made friends with some chaps on the beach until it got dark. Has anyone been down to Fistral Beach in Newquay? It’s like a second home to me, and I miss it! I love the ocean just like I love the mountains. I drove back in the dark, my sandy, damp clothes sticking to me… some people hate that feeling… but I just wanna get back in the sea. Thinking about it, if I love the sea so much, maybe I should transition to triathlons. Ha, no! My running is too special to dilute with two other sports. No offence, triers. I’m planning my triathlon stage for a midlife crisis.
Exhausted, I collapsed into bed, where I am now writing my daily diary. My eyes are heavy. Oh hang on a minute, I should probably get the piece of coral out of my foot…. 20 minutes later, mission complete. Time for bed.
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
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