Former banker runs a marathon in 196 countries

Athens Marathon 2019 has 17,000 athletes, but no one has the same mind as Nick Butter, because Greece is his end destination on the marathon journey in 196 countries.


Nick Butter’s journey began 674 days earlier, in the cold -25 degrees Celsius in Toronto, Canada. The marathon in Athens, Greece, on November 10, is like a sprint to the finish line.

The numbers after the journey of 196 countries surprised viewers. And Butter can read them fluently, like a student reading a multiplication table.

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Butter spent 455 flights – booked by his father in England, required 120 visas, 10 passports and accumulated 10 million runs. He completed 22 marathons (42,195km) on food poisoning, four runs in kidney infections, 101 times on an empty stomach, and didn’t need painkillers for 320 days.

Besides stomach issues, according to Butter, the challenge of running is simply ensuring fitness. Butter only runs two or three marathons a week. The real difficulty is moving from one country to another according to the set timeframe.

Traveling between countries was difficult, finding the right route and having a beautiful scenery to run was much harder. Butter’s run often loops. He ran 85 laps in Vatican City, 104 laps in the residence of a British embassy commissioner in Kingston, Jamaica, 105 laps in the stadium of Damascus, Syria.

At the peak, this runner ran to 335 around the parking lot at a hotel in the Marshall Islands, where he couldn’t go too far because there were so many stray dogs.

Butter describes 15 countries that actually had problems before leaving, from Iran to Afghanistan, from Somalia to Yemen, to Syria, Libya. He once traversed a blockaded area on the Syrian-Lebanon border, where someone was murdered just days before. Temperatures also vary from place to place, from having to wear six layers of clothes when Butter first ran in Toronto to drinking 9.5 liters of water to cope with the heat in Kuwait.

Next is the food. Butter said he spent 35 days running a marathon without eating, losing 11 kg in the first two weeks in Africa. He ate again with two meals on the plane, to the point of feeling fed up.

Butter completes most of his journey alone, except for times when he needs help from friends back home. There are times when he is not alone. Supported by the El Salvador Ministry of Sports, Butter runs with 1,000 people, including indigenous students and athletes. Presidents in nine countries have stridden with him. His phone book has about 2,500 new names.

Close friend Kevin Webber also inspired Butter to make the journey. He took Webber’s hand, a terminal prostate cancer patient, finishing in Athens.

Butter donated a total of $ 155,830 to Prostate Cancer UK – a prostate cancer fund in the UK, and hopes to reach $ 325,000. This amount is expected to be spent on a national screening program in the UK.

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After the journey to conquer the marathon in 196 countries around the world, Butter will start a sharing trip to schools and stages in England and Europe. Once selling a house, buying a camping truck, Butter can now talk about difficult situations, lessons he has learned on the journey.

Butter also dreamed of breaking a record of running 1,000 miles (more than 1,600 kilometers) around Iceland. And to have time to do his favorite things, he certainly will not return to banking soon.

Butter’s marathon journeys in every country of the world have not been officially recognized. He still kept enough travel tickets, recording each track to prove and plan to submit the relevant documents soon.

But these two things are not Butter’s priority right now. With Butter, he feels happy to share his stories and this joy is enough to last a lifetime.