Two years ago, Bristol-based runner Nick Butter decided he would run a marathon in every country in the world. Just under two years and 196 countries later, he has actually done it.
The grueling 22-month challenge had Nick running up to four marathons a week and changing countries three times a week. He has run through food poisoning, a kidney infection, 15 war zones, two muggings, and one set of stolen luggage.
It was all worth it, though, because Nick wasn’t running solely to set a record—he was running to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK. The “Running The World 196” project was inspired by his friend and fellow runner Kevin Webber, who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2014.
“Thanks to Kevin who changed my life for the better,” Nick wrote under a photo of his last race in Athens, Greece. “I just only wish I could stop him dying from Prostate Cancer. Sadly not. We can stop other men dying though. Donate now.”
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Day 674 - Marathon 196 of 196! Greece 🇬🇷 Athens — I did it. I actually did it. Ha 🙈🏁🏃♂️😛🗺Against all odds. I ran a marathon in every country in the world 🌎 Ha, I can’t believe it. A new world first and a new world record and big relief. Please donate if you can. Link in my bio! — I crossed my two year finish line today hand in hand with my brilliant friends - AND KEVIN WEBBER! As you know, Kev was my inspiration behind this journey, and he promised me he would stay alive to be here at the finish - I’m so pleased we could share today celebrating life, and this wonderful world we live in. Thanks to Kevin who changed my life for the better - I just only wish I could stop him dying from Prostate Cancer. Sadly not. We can stop other men dying though. Donate now. — I got by with a little help from my friends as the saying goes. In reality I was a very very small runner man in one giant network of wonderfully selfless, smart and determined people. — Thank you so much to all of the brilliant team, supporters, Prostate Cancer UK, family, friends, donors, random strangers, sponsors, airlines, security firms, visa offices, the UN, the British embassy, and of course YOU! A big thanks to @dosportlive who powered me around the world with their energy. — The story is not over yet my friends. Over the coming days I’ll tell you my big plans for wants next. 2020 is all about sharing the story in a huge UK and European speaking tour. If you would like me to speak at your SCHOOL or if you can help organise a talk at a VENUE near you please email [email protected] If you want me to come and speak at your place of work or business please also get in touch. I have so much to share. — I’ll be showcasing my souvenirs from every corner of the world, all the photography, a preview of the documentary, and my photo book. The written account of this journey will be published by Penguin publishers in April/May ish. 👌 — Run far, run free, and do yourself proud. Thank you for all the support friends. — #runningtheworld196 #runningtheworld #traveller #runnerguy #nickbutter #inspiration #running #run #runner #travel #adventure #guy #globertrotter #hot #worldtravel #love
“The elation of finishing that run with Kevin and everyone else behind me was just so amazing. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to feel like when I finished,” Nick said, according to AdaptNetwork.com. “I feel a bit numb, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen next and I am so, so ready to chat with Kev and have a proper conversation about everything that’s happened in the last few years because we haven’t had time to catch up.”
Please take a minute to watch this! 2 hours to go until the end of my challenge to run a marathon in every country in the world #runningtheworld196 full video on my Facebook page PLEASE DONATE AND SHARE - https://t.co/7lbCfHtjNp @celebwhogive @ProstateUK @EssexPower100 pic.twitter.com/r0cC4nfNR7— Nick Butter (@nickbutterrun) November 10, 2019
The number of 196 countries came about because 193 of those are recognized by the United Nations as sovereign states, while three others are not. Nick has actually run 211 marathons to “future proof” the record, meaning he’d run in places that could be potentially be recognized as countries in the future.
Nick has raised over £115,000 (~$149,080 USD) of his £250,000 (~$324,088 USD) goal. To donate to Prostate Cancer UK, go to justgiving.com.