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Day 297 – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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The cold front, uh oh. Most of today I was sat with my hands wrapped around my mug of hot chocolate, sat in a beautiful cafe by the canal, in Cafe de Jaren. A scrummy tomato soup, fresh ciabatta with salted butter, plus ham and eggs, Holland style. I made more progress on the book today, hunched over my laptop, with nearly all my clothes on.

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Would you like a copy of the book? Any advice, or things you’d like to read about? Please comment, or perhaps tag someone who might like a copy.

It seems like such a long time ago that I was dripping in sweat in Africa. Gone are the days of drinking close to 6 litres of water during a run and virtually running naked to give myself any chance of cooling down.

I have 16 marathons still to run this year, and then another 96 next year. I’m excited to reach 100 marathons by Christmas. It is, however, going to be a cold couple of months ahead. Not long and I’ll be further east into Europe. First few weeks of November and I’ll tick off Scandinavia, and then the likes of Estonia and Russia. The rest of the year will see an average temperature of 3°C. Brrrr.

Here’s my upcoming countries with dates (note: we’ve squeezed Romania back in towards the end of the year):

11 Nov SWITZERLAND Buchs

14 Nov LIECHTENSTEIN Vaduz

15 Nov LUXEMBOURG Luxembourg

17 Nov DENMARK Copenhagen

20 Nov NORWAY Oslo

23 Nov SWEDEN Stockholm

26 Nov FINLAND Helsinki

29 Nov RUSSIA St Petersburg

2 Dec ESTONIA Tallinn

5 Dec LATVIA Riga

8 Dec LITHUANIA Vilnius

11 Dec BELARUS Minsk

13 Dec UKRAINE Kiev

15 Dec MOLDOVA Chisinau

17 Dec ROMANIA Bucharest

20 Dec POLAND Warsaw

Today I worked – I typed, I ate, I drank, I slept.

Please keep supporting folks – need some more donations! Search for ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’ and you’ll find the correct page to donate. Either that, or text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to ‘70070’ – thank you.

Day 298 – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Marathon 84

‘Into each life some rain must fall’ – Henry Wadsworth

At 6.30 this morning my alarm went off; I didn’t hear it, nor did I stir. I was sound asleep, running in my dreams, no doubt. At 7.30am I woke to the sound of the rain pelting the single-pane window, just an arm’s reach from my bed.

Cosy and warm, I tentatively stretched out and pulled the curtain to one side – it was grey and dark. The rain drops cascaded down the glass, sending shivers down my spine. Ughhh, just 5 more minutes please.

The hotel is silent – I can only hear a road sweeper on the streets below, its constant warning beeps… I shut my eyes, nestle the pillow around my head and snooze a little longer.

8am and now I must brave the day. Eyes sleepy, body warm, I sit up, throw my legs to one side and my feet touch the cold, wooden floor. Hello new day. Looking down, I have only eight toenails, soon to be seven. Here we go again.

Despite the sleepy start to the day, the company of Mirjam @myrunspiration and her friend Sofie was a treat. Lovely ladies, with so many great stories of travel and setting up home in various different countries.

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We met at my hotel, donned our rain jackets and began to plod the flat, cobbled streets of Amsterdam. This inevitably meant running next to or over a canal the entire time. Thanks to Mirjam for rallying her friends, Sara and Sofie. I’m so lucky to meet so many nice humans.

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Mirjam and co peeled off at about 11 miles to resume their lives – meanwhile I trotted the rest of the way with my soggy poncho flapping in the wind. I even stopped in a small corner shop and bought some gloves – my hands were so numb I couldn’t handle the money in my pocket, the shopkeeper had to help.

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And so tonight, now showered and warm once again, my stretching complete and my clothes hanging to dry, I look to tomorrow… I fancy an apple, a big apple. Let’s head to New York.

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Day 299 – Amsterdam, Netherlands to New York, USA

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Happy Halloween!

I don’t need to be here, but here I am. This is another of the six World Majors. On top of the 196 countries of the world that this expedition is all about, I am also running all the World Majors, plus London twice, and Antarctica. These are the extras I don’t need to complete to gain the world record, but I feel as if it would be rude not to.

Done:

London, 18 April

 

Berlin, 18 September

Chicago, 18 October

New York, 4 November

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To do:

Tokyo, 3 March 2019

Boston, 15 April 2019

London, again, why not – April 2019

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Goodbye small,

Hello big,

Goodbye cute,

Hello brash,

Goodbye homes on water,

Hello homes in the sky,

Goodbye people power,

Hello horse power,

Goodbye cobbles,

Hello bright lights,

Goodbye Amsterdam,

Hello New York.

A simple, direct, Norwegian flight to JFK today. Five hours time difference and nine hours in the air. I arrived at the hotel just off 51st and 3rd, around the corner from the Rockefeller.

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In the $60 taxi from the airport I watched the 6th Avenue Halloween parade on the little TV in the back of the cab. As soon as I got to the hotel I walked the 30 or so blocks to the parade. Of course I was after some photos, as were some other friendly people. A French girl, a couple of Chinese guys and me formed a little photography team and went in search of some great shots. You’ll have to wait for the photo book for the best ones.

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Night everyone – back at the hotel now, and it’s time to sleep – my body clock is telling me it’s 5 in the morning. Three days till race day. Ahhh, rest.

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Please keep supporting folks – need some more donations! Search for ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’ and you’ll find the correct page to donate. Either that, or text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to ‘70070’ – thank you. Prostate cancer is now killing more people than breast cancer – we must stop it. For Kev, for your family, for the future, please help.

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Day 300 – New York City, USA

STATS TIME Yippee!

300 DAYS ON THE ROAD – Gosh it’s nearly the end of the year. Only 375 days of the expedition remaining.

Finish line = November 2019 – Athens – JOIN ME!

3,780,000 steps running

220,000 calories

2,201 running miles

84/196 marathons

84/196 countries

16 extra little runs, just because

136 countries flown to

149 total flights

97 big planes ✈52 tiny planes

27 trains

14 buses

160 taxis

3 cars

34 metro lines

4 hitch-hiked

1,991 morning running miles

210 darkness miles

–25°C temperature lowest ❄

+44°C temperature highest ☀

24 rain days ☔

18 paid bribes

2 broken-down cars

4,325 kilometres driven

209,322 photos taken

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3/6 World Majors completed

0 carbon footprint

600 Juice Plus tablets

155 Pulsin bars

42 McDonald’s

2 braii

30 brownies

102 room service

177 pasta dishes

79 crap food days

52 no meal days

0 alcohol

79 coca cola bottles

200 chocolate bars

1 dog bite

1 mugging

1 tooth infection

251 painkiller-free days

119 malaria tablets

117 different beds

112 hotels

4 hostels

18 host families

19 guest houses

136 airports

3 cars

5 tents

4 yurts

22 camp fires

151 new friends

88 number of animals seen

14 number of languages

2 tribes

24 volcanoes

4 mountain ranges

5 continents

419 donations, £37,300 for Prostate Cancer UK

⚠ Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.

⚠ Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day.

⚠ Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,000 men every year.

⚠ 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

⚠ Over 330,000 men live with and after prostate cancer.

Other things we’ve achieved:

Set up the 196 Foundation, launched WonderFULL Magazine, supported Ecofiltro, created a cancer drop-in centre, started to write the book, 30% progressed with the photo book, planning the closing event, neutralised 100% of the carbon footprint, have the best supporters. Thank you all.

Day 301 – New York, USA, Marathon expo, bib pick up, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

If you’ve never been to a marathon expo, let me talk you through it.

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First of all, the number one fact about marathon expos is that their sole purpose is to make money. Lots of money. Once you realise that, it starts to become less enjoyable. Warning: this may turn into a bit of a rant.

The easiest way to provide athletes with their race number and instructions for the day is by post. Simple. But I guess this reduces marathon sponsor income somewhat.

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Obviously there’s the buzz and atmosphere of the expo, which I love. It’s full of like-minded people all milling around in the same small space. (Always, without fail, too small.) Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy chatting to other runners and pointlessly picking up leaflets for races I’m unlikely to run, but having now been to a few, I’d really rather not bother. Time me by retinal scanning at every mile marker for all I care. Why do we need a number anyway? The timing chip is unique to me. Odd.

So here’s the top five rules of an expo:

  1. Never provide enough space for all of the guests attending.
  2. Always add a zero to the price tag of anything being sold.
  3. Never turn up at the suggested pick-up times – it’s carnage.
  4. Buy something you don’t need or don’t intend to use. It must not be worth the price you pay.
  5. Eat free samples and pretend you’re interested in the product, then walk away feeling like you might be able to go back later for more.

So today, I did the marathon expo thing, got my bib, posed for photos, met up with some sponsors and then made my way back to Brooklyn to sleep. Silly jet lag.

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Day 302 – New York, USA, Lazy day

My day started without the sound of my alarm – and at about 12pm. I needed some sleep, and for a change, I just let it happen.

I worked, I emailed, I rode the subway, I drank some hot chocolate, I met up with some friends, I ate fatty food, and then I watched Free Solo. Yep, Free Solo!

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So for those of you who don’t know Alex Honnold, he’s not a runner, but a climber. I climb a bit (when I’m not running around the world), I’m rubbish, but I enjoy it – and my all-time non-running hero is Alex. Maybe even my all-time hero, period.

Free Solo is his documentary. I won’t spoil anything, but regardless of your interest in climbing, this is the single best piece of media I’ve ever come across. A masterpiece. I laughed, I cried and I sat in the packed theatre surrounded by people who felt exactly the same. This man has achieved one of the most significant feats of endurance and epitomises the power of the mind. Seriously – watch it.

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I have just got back to my tiny little hotel room on Degraw/5th Avenue. The soft, fresh duvet is pulled up tight around my neck, and my legs and feet are tucked in. Lights off and my kit laid out for the morning. Yay, I get to run another brilliant marathon tomorrow, with another 75,000 people who also love running.

Day 303 – New York Marathon, USA

Well today was a long day! ✈

So this is actually my 87th marathon this year, but I’ve only run 84 official countries – the extras have been the Majors, and this was another.

My expedition continues in Switzerland in a few days – that’s not before a trip to see some friends in Paris for a day while I wait for my Russian visa. This is a longer story and I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, or the next day…

So here’s my day – what was your Sunday like? Don’t count the days, make the days count.

4.45am – Alarm went off, felt sleepy

5am – Another alarm, bugger off!

5.45am – Another alarm, I’m now late

5.46am – Realisation that I need to pack, shower, get my kit on, and get to the Staten Island Ferry in 30 minutes

6.15am – Already late for the ferry

6.20am – Packed, showered, changed, ready to run

6.30am – Uber to Staten Island Ferry

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7am – Get on ferry 45 minutes late

7.15am – It’s a warm day, and I’ve got too many clothes on

7.45am – Reach Staten Island – all the passengers get off

8.30am – Meet some lovely people and stand in a queue for the shuttle bus for 20 minutes

8.31am – Decide to scoff down a massive Subway, three cookies and a litre of water

8.50am – Get on the shuttle bus, standing room only

9.15am – Everyone on the bus needs a wee; the driver is under strict instructions to not let anyone off the bus – he follows the rules

9.25am – One passenger really needs a wee, so he just goes for a wee on the bus, fair play

9.50am – Race start

12pm – Stop for an ice cream and some photos

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1pm – Finish running – 03:11:25

1.25pm – Pick up bag from the drop bag

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1.40pm – Change clothes and get on the subway

2.15pm – Get back to the hotel

2.30pm – As I’ve checked out and can’t shower, I go to the gym

2.45pm – Gym session, core and chest

3.45pm – Shower

3.46pm – Need food

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4pm – Back to hotel, repack bags

4.30pm – Uber to JFK airport

5.30pm – Reach airport

6pm – Refused entry to lounge (no free food?), it was overcrowded

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6.01pm – Sleep on the floor

8pm – Eat all-day breakfast in over-priced diner

11pm – Board flight to Paris

11.40pm – Write this post

12am – Night night

Nick Butter

British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer

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

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