Day 261 – Bratislava, Slovakia, Marathon 77
16 bottles of water, 15 pints of beer, the Austrian border, a Twix and a 100th birthday, oh, and a snake.
What another weird and wonderful day. It was also the first day for six months that I’ve seen rain; you can go away now, rain. Thanks.
Today’s post is dedicated to a brilliant 100-year-old lady called Vida. Specifically, Andy’s Auntie Vida. 18 miles into today’s marathon we video-called Vida – 100 years old today. Happy Birthday! The call was made from a small cafe shack along the river bank, virtually deserted, and with heavy rain and strong winds outside. We paused for just a few minutes – all runners will know that venturing back out into the wind and rain from the comforts of shelter and a snack is never fun.
One of the great things about running is chatting. I don’t always have people to run with, but when I do, usually the conversation branches out on to all sorts of topics. I’ve learned so much about such a huge variety of topics. Hearing about Vida was a pleasure – thanks, Andy.
This was my fifth time running a marathon with Andy. It was wet, windy, and for a few miles we ran single file to act as a windbreak for each other. At mile 4 we discovered that we had come dangerously close to running into Austria. Easily done around here, and this would have meant us having to start the marathon again. I must stay within the country for the marathon to count.
After the sightings of a small snake, some weird mid-day dancing and several bottles of fizzy drinks and a Twix, we finished the marathon just shy of the hotel. Another great day. Man, I love running.
Andy and I met Dani, showered (separately), changed into our evening gear and went to find food. 16 pints later Dani was drunk, I was exhausted and Andy was sore and had the beginnings of a cold. I’m getting very bored of this not drinking malarkey but very good at running marathons on no sleep. Give me some red wine, though, or maybe a large glass of port and some cheese. Oh, I’m going to enjoy my first drink back.
Anyway, goodnight, it’s the early hours and we have an early train tomorrow to reach country number 78, Hungary.
Day 262 – Bratislava, Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary
Our last train journey of phase 5, narrowly avoiding a hefty €110 fine, and prepping for the @goprouk film of the past 30 days.
A snotty job’s worth of a conductor was unhappy that I’d not filled out the small pointless piece of paper with my previous journey’s details. This, of course, is the Interrail pass. Without going into too much of a rant, the Interrail ticket is crap. The price is good, but the app and the booking processes are anachronistic and infuriating. No doubt I’ll moan about this more another time…
We reached Budapest at about 4pm. We each had a mini-nap to make up for the recent lack of sleep and then ventured to an all-you-can-eat diner. Needless to say, the restaurant had caught Andy’s eye, with the ‘all you can eat’ and ‘all you can drink’ (emphasis on the ‘drink’). Naturally very classless and dingy, but perfectly edible – we tucked into several plates of everything. I’m rather proud of my four visits to the buffet and nine profiteroles. Don’t judge me.
After dinner we went in search of some actual music as opposed to the recent noise and bass of bars and clubs.
We were lucky to find a great jazz club in the heart of Budapest. The band was incredibly talented and I was transfixed. I play piano when I’m not gallivanting around the world, and so it’s nice to watch brilliant musicians enjoying an evening. Note to self: don’t tap feet too much so that legs cramp. We also met some awesome people – can’t mention everyone, but you know who you are.
I’m starting to think about saying goodbye to Dani – it’s only one more day and then goodbye. It’s been great to have him along. You’ll see this from the short 30-minute film we are putting together on YouTube of all the uncut nonsense we got up to.
Q&As: Please keep your questions coming in. Very soon I’ll be launching a series of Q&As on YouTube and Facebook. Anything you want to know, just ask.
Goodnight, another marathon tomorrow, and the last of the current phase. Budapest is marathon number 78.
Day 263 – Budapest, Hungary, Marathon 78 of 196
Rocks, dogs, horse guards, a castle, 30% cobbles, 68% tarmac and 2% death by dog ally.
14 miles into today’s marathon, Andy and I strayed into the land of grumpy, barking dogs again. I think the common denominator is Andy. If you’re just catching up, a dog bit me in Tunisia, with Andy present.
We were relatively far out of the main city and in a very Soviet-looking semi-abandoned scrubland. The dogs’ barking increased, and we looked at each other with an unspoken acknowledgement that these dogs were not going to get us this time. Andy darted to the side of the road and picked up a handful of rocks. Note: the rocks pictured are actually a lot smaller than the head-size boulders Andy went for first.
Today’s run was windy and cold enough that we had to double back after a few miles to get more layers on. Thanks Do Running for the emergency layers. It was under 10°C today, which is 20° less than usual, so needless to say, I was cold. I don’t like the cold.
Today was the last run for about four days before I start phase 6 in Iceland.
A big thanks to Andy for keeping me company. The city is beautiful, and incredibly interesting. We ran past horse guards, various military units, the huge and spectacular Parliament building, up and down many cobbles and mostly along the road, where possible. Job done. Another marathon complete. We even managed to put in some quick miles towards the end. Nothing nicer than pushing hard at the end of a long run and feeling like you can actually kick.
Just a little update if you’ve missed the general gist of what I’m doing.
Some of the key facts:
- I’m running a marathon in every country in the world
- To raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK
- The trip will take me about 675 days
- I move on to a new country every three days
- I’ve been away for about nine months
- The trip took two years to plan
- When I complete the journey I should have about eight world records
- It’s all for my mate Kev, who has terminal prostate cancer
Day 264 – Budapest, Hungary to London, UK
Bye bye phase 5, hello phase 6. Interrail session one complete, 30 days of pure laughter with Dani. #Legend
This morning I woke up very sleepy, while my friends were dreary-eyed and feeling sorry for themselves due to the copious amounts of alcohol still in their blood. A hangover is something I’ve not had for a while since giving up alcohol, but I can still feel sympathy headaches from time to time. Some may call that exhaustion. After a long snooze we eventually made it to breakfast.
Today is dedicated to Andy and Dani, and specifically, to Dani… (Andy, if you want to get a full dedication, you need to up your game and come and see me more.)
On top of all the fantastic experiences this expedition brings, I’m also very fortunate to have a great bunch of family and friends. Dani has been with me for a month. Most of you won’t know Dani like I do. He’s laid back to the point I virtually have to push him down a street. He walks so slowly, he never complains, is always trying to pay for things, and always makes me laugh (mostly at him)! Thanks, buddy.
Tonight I’m in another hotel, the Novotel in London. I’m sleepy, exhausted and it’s time to hit reset ahead of another few months of hectic running around the world. Between now and the end of the year I have another 22 marathons to run plus two of the six World Majors, Chicago and New York.
13 phases in total taking me through every continent and every country in the world. Each phase is separated by a return trip home to collect visas and passports or the completion of a continent. My last marathon of the 196 will be in Athens, Greece. Obviously Athens is a special place for marathoners.
If you are interested in joining me for the last marathon of the trip, please get in touch.
Coming into London tonight was sad, saying goodbye to Dani and ultimately beginning the last couple of phases towards the end of this year. Only another 118 marathons to go in 17 months.
A big thank you to my team. The next few days of meetings and washing clothes, and I’ll be back out.
Day 265 – London, UK
**BIG NEWS! YAY – I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!**
Today I am super-excited to announce that Penguin want to publish my book. The book will capture the entire journey, including the many months of mad panic in the two years leading to the start line, the struggles with sponsorship, the tears and tantrums, and, of course, all the ridiculous highs and lows of life on the road. Sweaty, scared, sore, exhausted, euphoric, nervous and damn-right run-down, I’m only nine months into the journey, with 14 months remaining – who knows what will happen. I’m enjoying writing; I just hope you guys will enjoy reading it.
After six months of conversations and lots of help from some brilliant people (Henry, Stan, Carla and Mark, you know who you are), the contract has been finalised and I’m now several hundreds of thousands of words away from something that will resemble a book. Yay, go me. Thanks to Transworld and Penguin for believing in the journey and in me.
Other than the written account of the journey, I will also be publishing my nice, chunky photo book. I’ve done lots of work on this recently and the format, quality etc is all sorted. Just need to progress the publication now. Do you want a photo book? So many great shots so far, if I do say so myself.
Besides various conversations about books, catching up on emails, attempting to reply to various messages, and finally ticking a few things off the ‘to do’ list… I now have two days to sort everything out, pick up some visas and then jump on a plane to Iceland to begin the next phase of the journey. I did also have time to see my mates, the Haddock girls!
Here’s what October looks like – come join me if you want:
4 Oct USA Chicago
9 Oct USA San Francisco
16 Oct IRELAND Dublin
19 Oct CROATIA Zagreb
22 Oct ROMANIA Bucharest
25 Oct NETHERLANDS Amsterdam
28 Oct BELGIUM Brussels
31 Oct USA New York
Thanks for the continued support, guys and girls. Please help by donating where you can. TEXT ‘RTW89 £10’ to 70070 to give via JustGiving.
Reflecting – ‘The problem is, you think you have time’! I love this quote.
New passport, new set of visas, and off I go again, only 48 hours to down tools.
Time is something that I speak about regularly – with friends, via various lectures and motivational talks around the world – plus the general thought of time rattles around my largely empty head every day.
It’s times like today, when I have a brief and rare break in the journey, that I’m reminded how privileged I am and how every day is precious. Various friends and family members have been seriously ill over recent years, and, of course, my dear friend Kevin will die from prostate cancer – hence the reason for the journey. It’s likely that someone you know closely has been taken ill or may even have died. In the memory of those who are no longer with us, make today count, and go on making every day count. Turn off the TV, get out of the house and do what you love doing.
Today is your day. Before the trip began I was gradually awakened to the realisation that life isn’t about working, sending emails, or buying big houses or nice cars… I have about 80 years of life, and I choose to try and leave the planet better than I found it… to be good, to have courage and to live as often as possible outside of my comfort zone. Maybe you can do more of this. I have so much I want to achieve I spend every day cramming stuff in. Don’t count the days, make the days count. Pleaseeeeee.
A big thank you to @jadehameister for sending me a copy of her latest book My Polar Dream. This brilliant young woman inspires me every day. What she does just epitomises how I believe people should live. Jade, looking forward to seeing you in Oz.
Another big thank you to Dawn. Dawn is my editor for my blog and for the new book – not only editing and being a fab person, but you made me cookies. Thank you.
I’m running around the world to raise £250,000 for @prostatecanceruk to support my friend Kev who will sadly die from the disease. Please donate if you can. Visit ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’, or text ‘NRTW89 £10’ to 70070. Thank you.
Day 267 – Bristol, UK
Tomorrow phase 6 of the expedition begins. A short stint of 40 days before visa restrictions mean I need to dash to the Russian Embassy in person to get my biometrics done.
Tomorrow I leave for country 79, Iceland, then I’m in the US for the Chicago and New York Marathons, plus I have a week on the West Coast to visit some cancer research centres and to explore Yosemite from San Francisco. I’ll then push on back to Europe.
On top of running a marathon in every country in the world I am also running all the World Major Marathons. London and Berlin have been completed earlier this year, Chicago and New York are coming up, and then next year I’ll run Boston and Tokyo, plus a bonus London Marathon. If you’re around and want to meet me or run with me, let me know.
What’s in my bag? To name but a few…
Athletic Tea Co @athleticteaco – I drink tea pretty much daily. Athletic Tea tastes blooming great, and the best bit? It really works. I often need to wake up and keep germs at bay… it’s naturally healthy and always helps to ward off silly colds. Thanks guys.
Juice Plus @juiceplus_uk – On top of the tea I take Juice Plus tablets every day. Basically it’s ground-up fruit and veg in a special formula; this is the key to keeping the sniffles away.
Do Running @dosportlive – As you all know, I’ve worked with Do Running for years and they’ve just given me a fresh supply of kit to run in. You’ll see it in the coming days.
Red Bull @redbull – Obviously I need an extra wake-up sometimes, just half a can every now and then.
Life Venture @lifeventureuk – Having run through Africa and in temperatures higher than 40°C I need sun cream. These guys provide me with many great travel essentials – sun cream at factor 50, plus plug adapters, lip balm, new bits of kit and camping equipment.
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
Social Media: http://www.runningtheworld196.com | Twitter @nickbutterrun | Instagram@nickbutterrun
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