DSCN3263416A7669_1

Day 353 – United Kingdom

Christmas Eve.

Today was spent on an all-out attack on the admin of life – washing, tidying, sorting, charging, stacking, backing up, writing, and generally sorting my immediate surroundings in order to begin the next cycle of prep for the final half of this expedition.

As it’s Christmas it got me thinking about all the brilliant but horrendously poor people I’ve met and chatted to since setting off on this journey. I’ve learned more from these 100 countries than I ever will from any book or schooling.

We all have our hopes and dreams, and also the things we know we don’t really need but we still really crave and desire. For the four months of my Africa leg I was left open-mouthed at the vast divide between me and ‘them’… food, shelter, clean water… most of the people I came across were struggling to achieve just one of these things let along set their sights on getting the full set. In the past I often found myself being frustrated at the silliest of things, and I still do, actually – like not being able to find the right kind of tomatoes in the supermarket, or the fact that I have to drive to collect the takeaway I ordered. Today, I sat and jotted down a few basic learnings I’d taken from this year… I’ll share them with you in my book.

Next year I hope to be a better version of me… the best I can be. It’s the same goal as every year, but somehow I feel with the context and perspective I’ve gathered from so many this year, I might just smash it out the park… bring it on. We must remember how incredibly lucky we are. I must! How can those with so little teach me so much?… it’s been a really crazy year… and I still have another 96 countries to go. Thank you world.

Day 354 – United Kingdom

Christmas Day.

BIG THANK YOU’s to all! This is going to take some time…

Happy Christmas everyone! The day of eating, eating some more, being confused and then overly competitive with board games, and festering in a puddle of wrapping paper in front of the TV with chocolate all over my face. Ahhh, Christmas. Wouldn’t have it any other way…

Today was just what I needed. My brother, my mum and dad, plus the extended family gathered for another annual get-together. Christmas tree lights on, the fire crackling, festive music being piped through the house and the clatter of pots and pans as dinner gets served… crackers, bad jokes, Queen’s speech, more food, and then board games.

BIG BIG BIG thank you’s… I will always miss people off the list, but here’s my attempt at calling out the extra-special people who have made year one of the expedition special.

Thank you FRIENDS and SUPPORTERS:

Everyone who has donated!!! AMAZING.

Everyone who has hosted me.

Everyone who has run with me and all my new friends in literally every country I’ve been to.

There’s more…

Jon and Julia.

Mike and Hannah.

Dan, Martin and the Do Running family.

All the brilliant hoteliers.

Rowena and family, Duncan and family, JC and family, Andre and family, Gen and family, Mark Beaumont, Stephen Fry, Chris Evans, BBC, Sky, ITV, Red Bull, plus all those who got me to the start line.

Dani and Andy – you know I’m endlessly grateful for your energy and time to come and visit me. Maybe some running next year, Dani?

Thank you TEAM:

Carla and Ali, my glorious assistants

Emily, social media queen

Chrissy, accommodation manager

Dawn, editor and saint

Scott and Bonny, Spark Media production crew

Rachel and Samantha, Solihull College

Maz and Faisal, Universal Visas

Mum and dad, flight bookings and travel

Sam and Ronnie, Red Monkey Collective, agent

Laura and Dani, performance management

Evie, psychologist

Stan, literary agent

Henry, Penguin Publishers

Ed and co, security

I will be thanking all my sponsors individually in the coming days. You all know who you are and I truly couldn’t have done it without you.

Day 355 – United Kingdom

Boxing Day.

Time to reflect. I flicked back through my running journal today, just to spend some time appreciating the journey so far.

My running journal is a simple notes-style diary – the date, the distance I ran (invariably marathons lately), my all-time distance and some notes about how the run felt, who I ran with, if anyone, and my general mood, views and thoughts.

I wasn’t expecting to get emotional, but I did. I’m so incredibly lucky to have met such friendly and inviting people. The countless times my running diary begins with… ‘today was a good day’… or ‘so many smiling faces’… or ‘I can’t believe how many people ran with me’… The running community all over the world is truly special. Thank you everyone.

It’s nice to reflect every now and then; after all, it’s how we learn. If you don’t keep a diary, I’d urge you to. It’s easy, it’s a little bit of daily therapy and it’s kinda nice to look back and be grateful for the year.

Today I visited friends, ate some more and did a lot of talking about the year. Thanks to Gill and Richard for hosting a lovely dinner. Great to see you. Awesome! Being around kids at Christmas somehow removes all the cynical adult views of the world… and before I knew it I was transported back to being a child again. I wasn’t quite throwing my food around, but I was giggling, and I was smiling to the point my cheeks hurt.

I’ve just got in from seeing an old friend, Sammy. We went to school together and have many embarrassing tales of more or less everything as teenagers. We took a trip down memory lane and visited the village we went to school in… being Boxing Day evening, nothing was open really… so we just wandered around, chatted and reminisced. It’s been a great day… a day to reflect some more, and a day to be thankful for the past and the present.

Day 356 – Newquay, Cornwall, UK

I went for a seven-hour drive at 1 this morning. Hey, why not, I have loads of energy now – I haven’t run a marathon in four days. Winning.

416A7804416A7817

I guess like most people around Christmas I planned to have some downtime… but unlike the rest of the world, these precious few days of not running, not getting on a plane and not staying in a hotel meant I could be free from the commitments of the trip and just chill. It’s been a long time coming.

DSCN3263

I made my list of ‘to do’s’ earlier this morning and began to make a start before I could properly relax. Multiple A4 pages later, I have a list of 34 bits and pieces that have to get done before I continue with my journey next year… things like…

  1. Downloading all the GPX data from both watches, backing them up and updating the watches… It’s important I get all the data over to Guinness World Records, not to mention that all the data is complete, and accurate.
  2. Process my log book. This holds all the witnesses, the times, the locations, the weather, all the bits that Guinness World Records need to approve my multiple records.
  3. Upload all the video content to the library for the production company, for the documentary.
  4. Write some more of the book.

The list goes on… and so, after a long and busy few days, and after ticking just 8 items off my list of 34, it was time to take a break.

As a child, my family would visit Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall. Still my number one beach in the world, actually. May not be hot or bikini weather, pretty much ever, but the waves, atmosphere and surf culture is captivating… and it’s just down the road in the grand scheme of things.

416A7704416A7723

So today, I drove through the night and managed to catch the tail end of the sunrise over the ocean. I arrived at about 7am.

416A7573

A quick bite to eat in the form of a bacon butty with fluffy white bread and loads of butter and on with the day. Yum.

Day 357 – Cornwall, UK

The day of the man bun.

A late start, followed by a tasty English breakfast overlooking the sea.

416A7766

The Cornish peace and quiet started to have an effect as I made some good progress on my writing today, but my now very long hair is just getting ridiculous.

DSCN3409

I had three mini goals this year: (1) don’t shave; (2) don’t drink (booze, obviously); and (3) don’t cut my hair. In true Forrest Gump style I thought the beard and hair would be a good idea… the beard lasted a few months before getting the chop; I just couldn’t hack the mess. The no drinking rule some people may find hard, but for me, I’ve never been a big drinker and so I’ve been tee-total for a long time now. I’ll probably never drink again. Fave drink – water! The hair, though, is still intact.

I got so close to cutting my hair today but resisted… the man bun is born.

After some walks on the beach and a few hours for some photography, it was time to have another long sleep. Gotta get it while I can.

416A7748

Day 358 – Cornwall to Bournemouth, UK

New Year’s Resolutions – do you set yourself goals every year?

Every year I make a list of goals I want to realistically achieve by the end of the year. Not so much resolutions but more goal setting, I guess. This time last year was no different. I had five big goals. As well as these goals I have a document that I started years ago; it records all the things I want to achieve in my life… very importantly, though, stuff only makes it to the list if I am committed to doing it. If it’s on the list, it’s happening. I’ll share this list in a blog post one day; it’s too long for Instagram.

Here’s this year’s list of goals I wrote back in November 2017:

  1. Run a marathon in every country in the world
  2. Raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK
  3. Set a new world first
  4. Brush my teeth more
  5. Secure a book deal
  6. Don’t cut my hair
  7. Reflect on successes more
  8. Finish the year with more of an understanding of global politics
  9. Always say yes to any (or most) opportunities
  10. Start a non-profit organisation

There were a few more, but more specific to the trip – things like… ‘don’t run more than 600 miles in one pair of trainers’… stuff like that… things to make sure item one is a success and to avoid injury.

So let’s see how much of that list I have achieved… I have secured a book deal, started my non-profit (read tomorrow’s post about The 196 Foundation), I’ve run the first 100 marathons in 100 countries, setting a new world first, I’ve been average to poor at brushing my teeth, but it’s still an improvement, and we’ve raised over £35,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. This isn’t as much as I wanted for year one, but small steps and we will get there. I’ve certainly said yes more often and made sure I only turn things down if it jeopardises the trip. I haven’t cut my hair, despite looking like a floppy mop head. I’m still not very good at reflecting on successes (although this counts, I suppose), and I’ve certainly finished the year with an ocean of knowledge and perspectives on global political issues. I mark that as 8/10 success for this year. Win!

Day 359 – Bournemouth, UK

Help me help people, please!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d like to mention my new non-profit foundation I’ve created. It will launch later in the year.

What is The 196 Foundation?

Put simply, my new non-profit foundation is designed to help people all over the world. The idea is to build a community of donors and volunteers to help small pockets of need everywhere. It could be a boxing gym in Hackney that needs some help, or it could be something bigger, like setting up a disabled learning centre in Sierra Leone, or maybe just gathering some local hairdressers to go and give homeless people a haircut.

What’s the concept?

  1. Everyone who wants to support can donate £1.96 per month or £24 a year.
  2. Every year, with your help, we pick a cause that needs helps. It could be an individual, a charity or a group of people doing something great. You guys vote for the cause.
  3. We then understand how to help, and the best way to deliver lasting success and sustainability… You’d be amazed at how easy it is to make a difference.
  4. Next step, we help them; we don’t just hand out money and hope for the best; we get stuck in, we manage the funds carefully, and ensure clear and achievable outcomes.
  5. Lastly, we repeat the cycle. Do it all over again… one cause per year… once we’ve helped one area we move on and help another. Small little bits of help with long-term big impacts. Done correctly, we can help so easily.

How can you get involved?

For now the website is still under construction and the Foundation is gaining its last few paperwork sign-offs…

If you’re interested in helping, please just comment and we’ll be in touch once the website is up and running. If you have some ideas of who to help or want to get involved with the organisation in any way, just drop me a DM. Alternatively email nick@nickbutter.co.uk – cheers guys.

Nick Butter

British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer

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

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

Donate: www.gofundme.com/runningtheworld

JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runningtheworld

Promotional Video: https://vimeo.com/228583946