416A7686Day 360 – United Kingdom

Watch out for a stats update in the next few days…

The last day of the year… and what a year! I’ve already thanked all the brilliant people who have supported this year… if you are one of them, please know that I’m so very grateful for all your support. Just 314 days, and I will officially complete my world first expedition. I hope so anyway.

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Today was a fantastic last day of the year, which I spent with some truly special people. Looking ahead to next year, which is just a few hours away, I hope to spend the next 365 days in the company of people who make my heart sing, my mouth curl at the edges, and the wrinkles around my eyes even worse. I am so thankful for everyone who made this year so great.

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What a year it’s been, eh? 100 countries, 100 marathons and just 96 to go…

We had lunch at Rick Stein, Sandbanks, watched the film about Alex Honnold, Free Solo, reminisced about old times, and then chatted for so long we didn’t even see the New Year coming. Thanks to the great friends I spent tonight with.

A special mention to my mum and dad for their endless support, energy and love, and for getting me through this year. A tough job being my mum and dad; not only are they endlessly patient, but they also literally take care of every flight and every logistical nightmare.

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I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let people down, I’ve done wrong, and I have learnt from the challenges. Nothing ever turns out how you expect, but I still have the belief that being good, trying hard and doing it ‘my way’ is the best way to live my life. I’m so very lucky.

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Maybe we should all take some time to just sit and think about how lucky we are. Thanks 2018 – a year to remember.

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Day 361 – United Kingdom

Happy New Year everyone!

Today I must thank all of the brilliant companies that have sponsored and supported the journey. I really couldn’t have got here without you. Only another year to go. The pressure is on.

Thank you sponsors:

Lloyd’s Banking Group

Pro Direct Running @prodirectrunning

Red Bull @redbull

Do Sport Live @dosportlive

Juice Plus @juiceplus_uk

Spark Media

Suunto @suunto

Hydraquip @hydraquip

Rehband @rehband

Life Venture @lifeventureuk

Athletic Tea Co @athleticteaco

Go Pro @gopro

Natural Capital Partners

Etchrock @etchrock

Universal Visas

DS-48

Adidas @adidas

Runderwear @runderwearofficial

Duncan and co

Rowena and co

And many many more…

Please continue to donate where possible. These guys have made the trip happen; now let’s reach the target of £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. Let’s stop men dying.

Text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070 or just search ‘Nick Butter’ on Google @justgiving @prostatecanceruk

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On the 4th January 2019 I set off for Marathon 101 in Pakistan. I then move on to Afghanistan, Oman, Jordan and Dubai. I nip back for the National Running Show on the 20th January in London, and then I’m on the road for another 10 months. Here we go again folks. Wish me luck.

Oh, and as you can see… the laptop admin continues.

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Day 362 – United Kingdom

What have I learnt in year one of the expedition?

So it’s now the New Year. As most of the world begins the annual ritual of counting down the days till it’s Christmas again, for me, it’s the last 48 hours countdown till I’m on the road again. I have another 313 days and 96 more marathons in the remaining 96 countries before I can finally hang my running shoes up (or not) and smile in the knowledge I’ve completed my mission – a marathon in every country in the world.

People – people are precious, and are all just making the most of their time on the planet. Those ‘without’ certainly do feel life more than those ‘with’. There’s a direct correlation between people with less money and how friendly they are. I understand there are always exceptions, but my experience of the world tells me, WE NEED TO BE KIND AND MUCH MORE SELFLESS. Easier said than done when we are caught up in our own little bubble, though, isn’t it? I’m going to make a special effort to break out of the bubble a bit more often.

Travel – where do I start? I’ve learnt that airports are weird places, security in airports is mostly nonsense and wildly different from country to country, it’s not okay to fall asleep on a plane toilet, and if you’re late for a flight, they do actually wait quite a long time for you. Oh, and don’t sit at the back of a bus on a long journey with the toilet leaking. On a serious note, the amount of people I’ve met who have never travelled or even left their own country is utterly tragic and makes me value everything so much more. We’re so lucky.

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I’ve written a whole list of learnings so I’ll post some more soon.

Top tips for travelling the world:

Always pack spare plastic bags to use as underwear for when you soil yourself from food poisoning.

Never pay for extra baggage – just argue till you’re blue in the face and make a scene.

Airlines care about one thing, and it’s not you!

The best way to pack before a long trip is to add all the things you think you need, and then take everything out and just take money and a passport.

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Day 363 – United Kingdom

Please DONATE to @prostatecanceruk

This time tomorrow I’ll be in Islamabad in Pakistan, running my 101st marathon of the expedition. I’ll then move through to Afghanistan, Oman, UAE and then further into the Middle East and the remaining countries of Eastern Europe.

Last year I tried to keep the begging for donations to a minimum; this year I’m not holding back. The JustGiving page shows about £21,000 plus a few offline donations that have been paid in through other supporters directly; we are currently at about £31,000, give or take. Although this is fantastic, there is a long way to go. Please spread the word and donate if you can. Just £5 here and there all adds up!

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What are the aims of this expedition?

  1. Prostate Cancer UK – to raise £250,000 for @prostatecancerUK in the name of my dear friend, Kevin Webber, who has terminal prostate cancer. Read more at http://www.runningtheworld196.com – if you are able, PLEASE DONATE; just a small donation can go a long way to help reach my goal.
  2. World Record – to set a collection of new world firsts and official Guinness World Records – the first person to run a marathon in every country in the world.

How can I donate?

It’s easy – either TEXT ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070 or just Google ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’ @justgiving

Where can I see the itinerary, photos and latest news?

You can check out all the progress on the expedition website at http://www.runningtheworld196.com or follow me on Facebook, Running The World 196.

Headline stats:

675 days

196 countries

A new world first

8 world records

£250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK

FINISH DATE: November 11th 2019

DONATE NOW via JUSTGIVING @prostatecancerUK @justgiving

If you’re interested in coming along to the final marathon, it will be in Athens, Greece – you could run or maybe just give me a hug at the finish. I’d love to see you all there! Email nick@nickbutter.co.uk

Day 364 – London, UK to Islamabad, Pakistan

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A trainer dilemma, collecting some visas, swapping my passports, and my 155th flight of the trip. Country number 101, here I come.

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And so on the road once more. It’s now just before midnight, right at the end of the day; I am at 36,000 feet on board a Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad.

I am due to touch down in about 30 minutes. Local time here is 5am. I’m tired, a little anxious for the dangers of this region, but overall just keen to keep ticking the countries off the list.

Don’t forget the reasons why this expedition is happening…

  1. Prostate Cancer UK – my primary aim is to raise £250,000 for @prostatecancerUK in the name of my dear friend Kevin Webber, who has terminal prostate cancer. Read more at http://www.runningtheworld196.com – if you are able, PLEASE DONATE; just a small donation can go along way to help reach my goal.
  2. World Record – in the process I’ll also set a collection of new world firsts and official Guinness World Records – the first person to run a marathon in every country in the world.

How can I donate?

It’s easy – either TEXT ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070 or just Google ‘Nick Butter JustGiving’ @justgiving

Trainers – this morning was frantic. I waited in at home till 8am for a special delivery of new trainers thanks to Pro Direct Running… of all the things I forgot to double-check, I had ran out of fresh Adidas Ultra Boosts, my trainer of choice for the expedition. Sadly they didn’t arrive in time, and so I’m running in old trainers that have seen over 500 miles… not ideal, but I’m told the new trainers did finally arrive at 10am and so will be sent to me ASAP.

Visa – thanks to Universal Visas! I made a pit stop to their office in London to collect my passport with the latest visas. I can’t thank Maz, Faisal and the rest of the team enough. Couldn’t do it without them. If you need a visa, use these guys.

Flight ✈ – and so now it’s time to shut my eyes and have a nap before we touch down. I run in just six hours’ time.

Day 365 – Islamabad, Pakistan, Marathon 101 of 196

First marathon of the year = horrendous, with 95 remaining.

This time last year I landed in Toronto for Marathon 1 and it was –25°C! Today was warmer but wet, cold, busy, boring, exhausting, and did I mention, wet?

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I arrived into Islamabad at 5.30 this morning. It took an hour to get through immigration and collect my bag, and then another 45 minutes to reach my hotel.

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At 7.30am I was in bed and managed to nap for about two hours before beginning the pre-run running ritual and then getting my clothes on. No time for breakfast or drinks this morning. Run time!

Within 10 minutes of today’s marathon I had to turn around. I headed back to the hotel to remove my compression socks and instead run with normal non-running socks. This is the first time I’ve not run in compression socks for about four years… you can imagine what my legs were saying to me. Rehband compression is utterly fab and I’d recommend them to anyone; however, due to a trapped nerve around my left ankle, this was causing me extra pain to the point that running or even walking was virtually impossible without loud swearing.

Sock change complete, I restarted my watches and headed out. The rain today was constant, heavy and caused flooding everywhere. That’s not an exaggeration. I ran for about 20 miles in shin-high dirty water. The puddles were so bad that I had to run in the middle of the road in oncoming traffic to try and keep myself upright. I was aquaplaning. And if you think I can’t possibly have run in the middle of the road in oncoming traffic, I really did; it was the only way.

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26.2 miles and 4 hours later I collapsed on the floor of my hotel, naked and with every item of clothing hanging up to dry. I had no idea my pants could hold so much water.

I want to say a huge thanks to my dear friend Razi for organising a great contact here in the city – a driver from the airport, plus directions for the route, and even dinner tomorrow night. Thanks, Pakistan, next time less rain please.

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PLEASE DONATE to @prostatecancerUK via @justgiving PLEASE!

Day 366 – Islamabad and Saddar, Pakistan

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What a difference a day makes!

Today is dedicated to Kabir and Razi. A friend from home, Razi connected his friend Kabir to me, and so today we ventured out.

Due to the wonders of jet lag I had a restless night’s sleep after my sufferfest of a run yesterday. I then woke up at about midday. Needless to say I needed the rest. At 2pm Kabir picked me up.

The city of Islamabad is split into the old town and the new town. The new is naturally much wealthier and the old is bustling and busy. I was expecting car horns, chaos and little road laws in the old town… I was wrong; yes, there were car horns, but both the old and the new areas are incredibly peaceful. Not necessarily in noise and pace, but the general feel was warm and welcoming. Everyone was so friendly and inviting. Kabir’s words to me as we were driving back were “perceptions are nearly always wrong” and I really agree; rarely have I visited a country and felt the same as I expected before I arrived.

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I visited one of the most stunning buildings I’ve ever seen… the largest mosque in the world, Faisal Mosque. I also managed to enjoy the views of the Margalla Hills, learnt about the local Urdu and Punjabi languages, and even met an ex-pro wrestler.

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I also learnt about Benazir Bhutto, the first Muslim prime minister in the world. Although sadly not alive now (she was assassinated in 2007), she studied in the city and is popular here. And yes… SHE! Brilliant.

We dumped the car and went into the busy (but not too busy) markets and shops on the main commercial area in the city, an area called Saddar. Kabir treated me to gulab jaman, an amazing-tasting but funny-looking sweet dessert. I tried burfi, another sweet, and then some strange Kashmiri tea. This was like hot strawberry Nesquik in colour and thickness, but tastes just like tea. It was hot, too.

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Oh, and, of course, due to their monsoon seasonal weather, the drainage system is spot on… it meant not a drop of water was on the roads. Typical.

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Please keep donating @prostatecancerUK Thank you!

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