Our heroic ultra-running ambassador, Kevin Webber, given just two years to live in 2014 – has gone on to run in extreme races around the world raising over £100K. During the gruelling 5-day Marathon Des Sables in 2016 Kevin met a like minded soul - Nick Butter. Inspired by Kevin's story, Nick decided to take on an incredible challenge of his own – to become the first person to run a marathon in every country in the world.
195 countries and over 8000km of running later, Nick heads for his final marathon in Athens this weekend. We look at five highlights from his mammoth and inspiring trip.
1. Dashing through the snow
Toronto, Canada, January 2018 1/196
With two years’ worth of expertly planned logistics, you would think an easy start would be factored in. However, for Nick’s very first marathon, he endured (and enjoyed) a literal breaking of the ice in the freezing Canadian winter.
“Running in -25C in Toronto was a difficult one, but it was so unique, such a shock to the system and, most of all, such a lovely group of people. It really woke me up as to what the hell I was doing! I learned quickly to expect the unexpected.”
Nick has run in a huge range of terrains and temperatures including highs of 60 degrees in Kuwait – butter was melting in his mouth that day.
2. The roads less travelled
Pyongyang, North Korea, April 2018 - 35/196
Covering every corner of the globe, Nick has run in countries that many of us have never dreamed of visiting. Marathon 35 took Nick into North Korea for the Pyongyang Marathon –
“When our lines finally formed, we were moved into the stadium like lemmings, to the roar of 40,000 North Koreans clapping and cheering – it was loud, scary, brilliant, mesmerising”
Other unique running locations include the tiny, remote Pacific islands of Naura, war torn Syria and the world’s smallest country - the Vatican City.
Kevin has taught me, we shouldn’t wait for a diagnosis to change our lives
3. Who let the dogs out?
Tunisia, May 2018 41/196
A man so well loved that even dogs want a piece of him. Superman has kryptonite - Nick Butter has dogs.
“I was in mile 24, five dogs attacked my friend Andy and I, who has run a few marathons with me over the course of this trip, and they jumped up and bit my left bumcheek.”
Thankfully a doctor’s trip and two rabies jabs later, Nick was on the mend.
4. Black box running
Cambodia, March 2019 – 124/196
Nick has had to be innovative throughout his trip, whether that has meant running in darkness in Syria, or running 26 laps of the same mile-long runway in Tuvalu. His temple run in Cambodia, was perhaps the most fascinating –
“I ran past five key temples today: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Neak Pean and East Baray. Bright oranges, tree greens and deep dark browns were the colour palette for this morning’s run – be it the dust hugging either side of the freshly paved roads of the ancient rock of the temples. The views today were something from a film set. Famously ‘Tomb Raider’ was filmed here – I can see why.”
5. Running like Greek Gods
Athens, Greece, November 2019 – 196/196
We’ll finish with a prediction. Nick will run his final marathon alongside the man that inspired him to start this epic adventure. Kevin Webber will join Nick in Athens this weekend. Throughout Nick’s adventure, he’s managed to raise vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK – now totalling over £56K. He’s also raised awareness of Kevin’s story and the many men like him across the country. Thanks, Nick – we’ll be there in Athens to support you!
You can donate to Nick’s efforts here.