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Day 311 –Zürich, Switzerland, Marathon 85 of 196

Marathon 85 is done, and in the company of super-lovely people in glorious sunshine. I couldn’t have asked for more today.

The deep reds, oranges and yellows covered the landscape ahead, behind and above us as we twisted through the hills to the summit. Reaching the top of the mountains of Zürich after about 11 miles, the view was spectacular. The fluffy clouds hung just below the tree line, the snow-capped peaks blanketed the horizon and the crisp morning was warming up by every minute. We all shared a moment staring out at the snowy peaks in the distance. The city was starting to come to life and with it, the mists of Lake Zürich rising too.

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Jack, Jon, Julia and Marieke went up the hill to fetch a… massive pretzel… A big thanks to the running gang today.

When I woke up this morning Jack and Marieke were complete strangers. After spending several hours running through the Swiss mountains, I now have new friends. Brilliant people. A pleasure to run with you guys.

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Talking of waking up, my phone decided to forget to update the time zone, and so I woke up an hour late – Jon had to knock on my door. You know those mornings when bed is the only place you want to be? This was one of them, but as always, the more you don’t wanna get up, the better it feels when you crack on with the day, doing what you love.

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Today can be broken down like so:

Breakfast – porridge and banana

Walk to train

Train

Walk to tram

Tram

Another tram

Run – shop ⚠ (while hungry)

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Dinner – ravioli and pizza, yum

Film

Sleep

What a fab day. The day after tomorrow we take a day trip to run again in Liechtenstein. Huge thanks to all who made today brilliant!

Day 312 – Zürich, Switzerland

The second best outdoor shop in the world, travel books and a chilled foggy day in Zürich.

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I was supposed to spend the day writing more of the book today, but instead I slept till 11.30am, munched down a tasty bagel and cream cheese, and then got on with some (other) jobs.

Being in Zürich for a couple of days was just what I needed to switch off. Obviously I haven’t really switched off, but I did have today to chill and explore the city at a relatively slowly pace. I spent two hours in a bookshop (love bookshops) and then discovered the wonderland that is Transa. This place sells all my favourite things… except chocolate – jackets, hand-made skis, a huge ‘bags’ section, books, gadgets that I have no idea what they do, and, of course, Swiss army knives. Massive ones.

I met another couple of Jon’s mates tonight, who were also my kinda people – such a nice evening. I now understand how vegans manage to eat enough food. They just have two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners. Easy.

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Every country from now until the end of the year is gonna get colder, with Russia topping out at –8°C. Ideally with no snow.

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Tomorrow Jon and I head to Liechtenstein for a day trip to tick off Marathon 86. It’s getting late – so time for bed, me thinks.

Day 313 – Switzerland to Liechtenstein and back! Marathon 86

What a day!

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Several kilos of cheese, 42.195 km in running shoes, a few cows, two countries, some wind (mostly from Jon) and blue skies. Oh, and another brilliant chap by the name of Marcel.

While the sun was still sleeping, Jon and I convened in the kitchen to gather some food for breakfast and stuff our bags with everything we needed for the day. It was cold outside and we had an hour on a train ahead of us to reach Liechtenstein. We packed our post-run clothes so that we weren’t shivering and miserable on the journey back – I’ve seen so many people shiver for hours post race as a result of not packing clothes to change into. This is something Jon and I had both experienced, and wouldn’t be repeating.

I decided to run with my Osprey bag today. Along with 3 litres of water in my nifty bladder (the bag’s, not mine), I stuffed my warm gear, a few emergency Pulsin bars, some painkillers, a spare hat and leggings into my bag. A few more mouthfuls of food, jackets on, watches on, and off we went. Day 313 had begun.

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Short walk to the station, a €75 ticket to Zürich central station, quick pit stop for Jon’s morning coffee during our 11-minute connection #winning… and before we knew it, we were in sunny Liechtenstein.

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Jon’s good friend Marcel met us off the train and drove us to the border from Sargans Station, just inside Switzerland. As always on this trip I seem to meet incredibly humble and lovely people. Today was no exception. Marcel – thank you for helping, chatting, running, and generally being a bloody lovely bloke.

A shout-out to Marcel’s 15-year-old son who recently completed his first marathon. Huge respect… time for another one, I think.

After our seemingly quick 5-hour jog along the river with a slight detour into Vaduz, we were done. Easy. We changed into our warm puffer jackets, had a few swigs of water, and off we went back to Zürich. The sun was with us most of the way.

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Writing this, I’ve just got in from Jack’s famous fondue. Two days ago Jack was a random stranger – and just a few hours ago I was eating cheese and petting a few of his horses (not a euphemism).

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Day 314 – Switzerland to Luxembourg

Another passport – another journey – another day on the road (actually on a train). Oh, and I got to see my parents today. Yay! Before I go any further, here’s a big thank you to Jon and all the gang in Switzerland for a brilliant few days.

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Ugh – I need to sleep please. Don’t know what’s up with me lately – I’m tired to the point of shutting my eyes standing up and nearly nodding off.

Sad to say bye to Jon and the gang in Zürich; seeing friends is always great, but it’s extra special when they introduce you to even more lovely people who then become friends. Nevertheless, goodbyes must be done.

I woke up in Zürich, and tonight I’m falling asleep in the outskirts of Luxembourg City.

After the pit stop in London a while ago, my passport and visa for Russia has now been finalised and returned. A huge thank you to my endlessly patient parents for flying from the UK to Zürich just to drop them off. We had a quick 20-minute early lunch, exchanged some necessary administrative chats regarding the upcoming journey and swapped my passports over. They went home and I continued to Luxembourg by train.

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Five hours later and here I am. I was met off the train by Jean Christoph (aka JC), Nelson and Nico. JC has not only been donating throughout the year, been following and generally been a great supporter of the cause, but he’s also arranged more or less everything for my 48-hour stay in Luxembourg. A shame to miss Tessy, but we’ll catch up another time – @tessy_from_luxembourg – you travel more than me. Oh, and happy birthday to Noah.

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Today has been full-on. I’ve said bye to Jon, seen my parents, met with JC and co, and on top of all that, I’ve finally got to meet Kristy and had an interview with Luxembourg’s top newspaper. Kristy – a huge pleasure to meet you, finally. For those of you who don’t know, Kristy and I have crossed paths a number of times this year but never managed to meet up, until now! Yay! Kristy is a brilliant runner – check her out! I think she’s planning to run with me tomorrow…

My belly now full I’m in bed having over-eaten again, thanks to Nico and JC.

Day 315 – Luxembourg, Marathon 87

Make-up, live TV, 300 kids, £750 of donations, several new friends, and oh yeah, another marathon.

Praise the lord, our JC! Jean Christoph triumphs again!

Driving in the car from rural Luxembourg into the city centre we talked through the agenda for today’s day of activities. Not just another marathon day, that’s for sure. Here’s my notes I made over breakfast before leaving to start day 315 of the expedition:

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Leave – 9am

School visit – 9.45am

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Speak/run with kids – 10am

Run marathon – 10.45am

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Finish marathon – 4pm

Change – 4.30pm

Snack – 5pm

TV make-up – 6.15pm

Live RTL TV – 7pm

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Finish TV – 7.30pm

Pizza for dinner – 8pm

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Home – 10pm

Bed – 11pm

Writing this when tired and feeling like all I want to do is sleep is pretty daunting and even exhausting actually. But having now completed that list and finally being in bed, I feel like today has been a day I’ll never forget.

I always want to squeeze every second out of every day. Sometimes it just feels too much, but when I think of Kev and all the other people suffering with cancer, and who are facing a shortened life, I realise days like today are extra special.

DON’T COUNT THE DAYS, MAKE THE DAYS COUNT.

JC – if Kev could have seen the amount of effort you went to, to make today as brilliant and as full as it was, he would have certainly cried with thanks, or at least given you a look and a hug of extreme gratitude.

The trip is about raising money for Prostate Cancer UK – and in turn, helping raise awareness for the charity and ultimately to stop men dying from the disease. In the process I try to have fun, enjoy every day, and value my time I have on the planet. Today was that, and more.

A shout-out to the running gang Fat Betty Run, the lovely ladies of Think Pink, Kristy, all of the reporters, schools kids, the Ambassador and teachers… and there are so many more!

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I ran with kids this morning, had several newspaper interviews in three different languages, ran 26.2 miles in beautiful sunshine, chatted to some very inspiring people including the British Ambassador and various friends and friends of friends who came out to support the cause. Thank you all! #running

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Day 316 – Luxembourg to Denmark via Amsterdam

Another 72-hour whirlwind. Hundreds of new faces, six interviews, one live TV slot in Luxembourgish, another 26.2 miles running with super-awesome people, two new caps, great food, and new lifelong friends, I’m sure. Sleep now please.

It was sad to say goodbye to a brilliant crew in Luxembourg. Thanks again to Nico and JC, along with all those who got involved to make Lux a super-special one.

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The traffic in Luxembourg is ridiculous, even with all the roadworks, and so that was making me a little agitated to get to the airport in time. Reassured by Nico and JC, and after a stop at a classic hot chocolate cafe plus a surprise gift, we made it to the airport with loads of time and absolutely no queue.

My surprise gift today was a brilliant cap – keep an eye out for it soon. Thanks JC for organising such a great gift – that, on top of everything else.

Today I flew from Luxembourg to Copenhagen, with a few hours connecting in Amsterdam. Easy-peasy, simple transfers, no need to collect my bags and I more or less slept at every possible opportunity. I am, however, still pretty knackered and could do with a day off tomorrow. I guess a marathon is my only option.

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Arriving into Denmark at about 4pm it was chilly. I met up with my friend for a little mooch around the German market and a tasty hot chocolate, and then finally off to bed.

Night world. Thanks for everything. Let’s do it all again tomorrow.

Day 317 – Copenhagen, Denmark, Marathon 88

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170 people, eight laps, and over 4,000 marathons between us. Starting today exhausted, I am now finishing today even more exhausted, but totally elated.

Today’s post should consist entirely of thank you’s to everyone’s kindness today.

6am – The alarm sounded and I reluctantly flopped out of bed and into my soggy running gear, still wet from Luxembourg two days before.

7am – Dressed, bag packed and clothes prepped for post-run warmth I met Christian for my ride to the start line. Christian, like so many people on this journey, was a stranger but is now a friend. He had organised 170 people to run a famous cannonball marathon just outside the city.

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8am – Shortly after picking me up we headed to collect Laura. Laura had been following my journey and wanted to run; sadly she was unavailable in Stockholm in a few days time, so took the train to meet us ahead of today’s run, here in Denmark. Once again I’m amazed at people’s kindness. It was cold and early, so thanks Laura.

9am – After a quick stop for over-priced breakfast snacks, we reached our starting post, along with 170 others. Unbeknownst to me the organisers of this race had made medals with my face on them, along with huge banners and a decent route. Runners of all abilities took park. Eight laps on a very cold morning. I was able to speak to almost everyone. Such a pleasure to learn about all of you.

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By 2pm we’d all finished. Even those who had run the shorter distances on offer were still around to clap in the last of the marathon finishers. Incredibly well organised and a brilliant morning. Thanks to everyone who helped make today great. And a special mention to Nina’s son, who ran a fast 5km.

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Once again I was reminded how precious our time is on this planet. I was lucky enough to run with Kenneth and Kenny (cousins, if my memory serves me correctly)… Kenneth was paralysed from a road accident, and has since taken to long endurance events in his super-nimble chair. I pushed for 5km, more or less, and that was tough, really tough. My hat off to both of you – you inspire me more than I’m sure I inspire you!

No more room to write…

Nick Butter

British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer

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

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