Day 226 – Mahé, Seychelles, Rest day
DONATION PLEA: On November 11th 2019 I am due to finish this expedition and set a new World Record for being the first person to run a marathon in every country in the world. The whole point of this trip is to raise awareness and cash for Prostate Cancer UK. Please help to stop men dying. If you’re able, please donate just £5 or £10. Google search for ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’. You’ll see the trip and the total amount raised. I only have 15 months left to reach my goal of £250,000; we are currently at £30,000.
I started to plan the route for this journey over two years ago. All sorts of things were a consideration – temperature, altitude, what type of clothing I would need, how much rest I should get based on time differences and flight times, which countries are easy to get to… etc., etc. It’s safe to say that 99% of that went out of the window as the planning progressed. When I left on January 6th 2018, the team and I had planned out every country to the exact date, except for a few of the more difficult countries like Yemen and Syria.
Skip ahead eight months into the journey and most of what was planned has changed to some extent – over 30 cancelled flights, lots of changes in the route due to mishaps and visa restrictions, and many unforeseen events. I wasn’t planning for the car to break down on a 15-hour overland journey to Senegal and learn to sew in the process, nor did I think I’d end up sleeping next to a taxi driver in a car at 2 in the morning at a closed ferry border surrounded by wild dogs, guards and dodgy-looking folk. The list goes on.
Goodbye Africa (for now) and hello Europe. Here’s a reminder of the up-coming countries:
30 Aug SPAIN, Barcelona
2 Sept ANDORRA, Andorra
3 Sept FRANCE, Nice
6 Sept MONACO, Monte Carlo
7 Sept ITALY, Rome
9 Sept VATICAN CITY, Vatican City
12 Sept SAN MARINO, San Marino
13 Sept GERMANY, Berlin
18 Sept CZECH REPUBLIC, Prague
20 Sept AUSTRIA, Vienna
22 Sept SLOVAKIA, Bratislava
24 Sept HUNGARY, Budapest
Day 227 – Seychelles, Hike day on the Anse Major trail
A blue ocean, lush green forest and a bright, hot sun…
I met a great person called Therese, a local Commonwealth and International swimmer, here on Mahé, Mahé being the principal island of 115 that make up the Seychelles.
I was spoilt today. Therese took me on a great hike over the mountains and around the cliff edges to a stunning little paradise beach called something I don’t remember. Thanks, Therese, you are just brilliant.
Getting up this morning I stuffed some snacks and water into my day bag – an old packet of Maltesers I’d bought on a plane weeks ago that had now moulded together into one melted mess, the last of my Pulsin bars, 2 litres of water, and spare underwear and socks for the hike back. A small Kenya Airways blanket was small enough to stuff in the top, and I made sure my drone and camera were safely stowed. I have one of those bags that if you take one thing out, it all has to be repacked. (This has happened, many times.)
The weather was perfect. As Therese was younger and far fitter than me, she marched up and through the mountains as if she knew where she was going. Obviously she did know where to go, which was evident in her stride.
I really had no idea what to expect, but we met at a bus stop and before I knew it we were both sweating and having to take on water. I am a runner, not a hiker. But I love to be in the mountains, and so hiking is basically the next best thing.
Pushing through the bush under a dense canopy of trees and leaves, the place was alive with island sounds and gentle running water from a steam flowing between the rocks.
We finally made it to the ‘promised land’ – a small, empty and untouched beautiful cove. A few fishing boats arrived and a couple of snorkellers rounded the rocks in the distance, but for the better part of two hours we just sat on our own and watched the waves rise, break and disperse over and over again. I love the infinity of waves.
We swam, and then headed back in the fading light of sunset.
Day 228 – Mahé, Seychelles, Time for a hair cut?
Apparently I have long hair now. Should I cut it, or leave it…?
Today marks the last day before moving to the next phase of the trip… I spent most of the day in the sun, sand and surf. As usual before a trip back to the UK to pick up a new passport, there’s lots of media and admin to be done. I did, however, manage to find some time to chill in the water. I paddleboarded around Beau Vallon and up to the far north. I did also somehow manage to burn the bottom of my feet on the road… I had popped out to get some water, and without shoes it’s far too hot. Ouch.
The Seychelles has been a fitting end to this section of the journey. A nice couple of days to breathe and reflect on the last 228 days away before the next 400 plus days consume me.
I’ve got through five pairs of trainers, four passports, worn holes in many socks, lived in filthy clothes, and showered far less than any human should. It’s now time to restock, replenish and repack the bags before heading out for Phase 5:
✓ Phase 1: North and Central America
✓ Phase 2: South America
✓ Phase 3: Africa Phase 1 (North West Africa and West Africa, including a detour to North Korea)
✓ Phase 4: Africa Phase 2 (Southern Africa, South East Africa and accompanying Indian Ocean Islands)
Phase 5 starts in Barcelona and proceeds through Europe with occasional detours to complete two of the world major marathons, in Chicago and New York, in October. It would be rude not to. I’ll also spend eight days on the West Coast of the US meeting some cancer research centres before concluding the phase on 20 December. I’ll then spend a week at home for Christmas before heading out to begin yet another year of marathon upon marathon upon marathon…
My bags are now packed, the sand has been washed off almost every part of me, the sun cream bottle now lays empty in the small, broken pedal bin, and all of the ‘free’ and exceptionally tiny shampoo, soap and odd-looking comb things are now stuffed in my bag ready to depart in about five hours’ time. A quick sleep and the alarm will sound once again. Night all.
Day 229 – Seychelles to the UK, Pit stop for a new passport
Phase 4 complete and the comforts of home… nearly.
Arriving back in London today was weird; it always is – from one hotel to the next, but with big differences.
From the busy roads, extreme poverty, white beaches, lots of naked kids washing in filthy steams, I am now sitting on the Tube heading towards the wealth of London Docklands – only 14 hours away by plane, but a world away in virtually every way.
Even being back home I won’t sleep in my own bed for days. I’m here for three nights of back-to-back meetings and interviews. The trip is more than just travel, run, rest – admin is king in these little breaks.
I’m very lucky to be staying at a brilliant little floating hotel for a couple of nights. A big thanks to the Good Hotel; it’s also a charity-based company and I’m pleased to say they gave me a few nights free. Brilliant location, and the decor is top-notch.
I landed about two hours ago. I’m tired and craving sleep. Even with the last few days of falling asleep in the sun, my body is now starting to slow down and relax. Brilliant, but dangerous – if I rest too much I’ll find it harder to get going with the running again.
I want to make a special mention of Carla and Chrissy. Carla, my PA, and Chrissy, my accommodation manager, play such a big part in making sure I have a roof over my head. If I was to pay for accommodation everywhere I simply wouldn’t be able to afford the trip (though in reality I can’t afford it anyway), so Chrissy and Carla, along with all the kind hotel managers and owners, have so far given me 88% of my nights for free. I just have to pay Chrissy and Carla.
Day 230 – Good Hotel, UK, Passport pick up
London, one of the greatest cities in the world.
Along with needing to come back home for a new passport, it’s also a great opportunity to do a load of UK press. The more we shout about Prostate Cancer the better. Having only landed 12 hours ago I was up early to start a full-on day and tick off as much as possible from my list before repacking my bags and on to the next phase of the trip.
My day went a little like this:
06:00 Alarm went off
07:30 Social media promo morning
08:30 Interview with Rehband
09:30 Wolsey Magazine interview
11:00 BBC World Service interview
11:30 BBC Radio interview
12:30 Penguin Publishers meeting – lots more to talk about here. Some very exciting talks…
15:30 ITV interview
17:30 English Talks pre-record – a great concept, but sadly I can’t be there to speak in person. I recorded a short talk for the English Talks touring event
19:00 WonderFULL Magazine meeting
And breathe… tucked up in bed, and all I want to do is pause time.
As you can see, I’ve been busy. I have three more days here in the UK before going back out to start my fifth leg of my journey. Next stop, Barcelona.
Massive thanks to all of the media outlets, journalists and great people I’ve spoken to today. Talking repeatedly about why I’m doing this, the cause and Kev gets me a little emotional, but reminds me how important it is to keep talking about prostate cancer. Please donate to Prostate Cancer UK. Carla has done a great job to fill my first day back with loads of interviews so more people can hear about the journey. Cheers.
Day 231 – Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel, UK, meetings continue
A roof with a view, and catching up with the production company.
My meetings and interviews today included local BBC radio, Radio Dorset, meeting Tom from Athletic Tea Co, being interviewed for an article for the Evening Standard, getting my phone screen repaired (ouch) and meeting Bonny from Spark Media.
Today I moved to the Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel, another brilliant hotel, in close proximity to my meetings. Because these few days here in London are so busy, it makes sense to stay in the city rather than travel home to Bristol. Riverside Plaza kindly gave me a great room. And their roof has a great view.
Some of you will know that we are producing a documentary of the journey – all the highs, the extreme lows and, of course, snippets from every country. Because I travel on my own for 99% of the trip I therefore have to ensure all the content I capture is correct. While I can just point and shoot with my iPhone all the time, my camera gear must be at the right frame rate, the screen ratio must be correct and the files all need to be backed up. Today is about chatting through the existing content and transferring everything over to Spark Media. Spark Media will then produce a 90-minute documentary available to all broadcasters; it will also be aired at film festivals around the UK, and hopefully the world. I met Bonny today, did a little interview about the journey so far, and generally reminisced about some crazy things that have happened so far.
Just a reminder to all… there are a total of 13 phases to complete. The last phase includes my anticipated final marathon in Athens after finishing the continent of Oceania. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Athens is last – a special place and, of course, home to the birth of the Marathon. I’ll be running the official Marathon in Athens, finishing in the Olympic Stadium. I’ve run this before; it’s special. You are all welcome to come and join me. Interested? Drop me a comment!
If you’re a tea drinker, or even if you’re not a tea drinker (yet), give Athletic Tea Co a try.
Day 232 – Canary Wharf, London City, UK, The last day of my 28th year
Tomorrow I turn 29, and I will have been alive for 10,585 days. I’m usually wildly optimistic and positive about life, and that’s no different to my life goal. When I say life goal, I mean, quite literally, life goal. I fully intend to live to 125, in full health, and laughing every day. Why not dream big? It’s my attitude with everything. Though the reality is that, like most humans, I’ll probably not reach 90.
You may know that along with running and gallivanting around the world, I am a speaker. I speak to schools, businesses, anyone who will listen, really. I primarily speak about three topics with various tales of my running adventures thrown in – time, courage and failure. My aim is to inspire others to appreciate today and to live with an awareness of how lucky we are. Today I want to share with you a topic I talk about that is very close to my heart – time.
Time is precious, valuable and largely taken for granted. Us humans have a habit of taking tomorrow for granted. Most of our big dreams and plans wait until tomorrow. How often have you said, ‘I’d love to start my own business’ or ‘I’d love to take the kids to…’ As you may have already found in your own lives, tomorrow is often a recurring statement. And sadly for others, tomorrow simply doesn’t happen.
The average human in the UK lives for just 29,747 days, which is about 81 years. My point when speaking about time is that although we can’t control when the sun rises, how high the mountains are or what colour the sky is, our world is beautiful and we have but a short time to explore it. It’s our duty to use our time on this glorious planet well, and it is important that we live with intent. Don’t just fumble through life waiting for tomorrow – today is 24 hours you’ll never have again.
If you are British and living in the UK, the stats tell us that on average we all watch nine years’ worth of TV, which is over 78,000 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good box set, but come on, nine years is just sad.
My philosophy in life is, ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count.’ And that’s exactly what I’m doing.
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