Nick Butter: 132 Marathons Down, 64 To Go

In January 2018, Nick Butter set out to run a marathon in every country on earth. By August, he had ticked off 63 of the 196 nations on his list, been mugged in Nigeria and been bitten by a stray dog in Tunisia. But he soldiered on, and by 2019, he had completed 100 marathons in 100 different countries.

Despite the incredible stress on his body, Butter’s health has largely held up. He has suffered a few minor injuries and is no stranger to sore muscles, but it has only been a (rather surprising) bout of food poisoning in Norway that laid him low for an extended period of time. Staying on his feet is key: He averages a marathon every three days and aims to finish his final one in Athens, Greece on November 11, 2019.

Butter only decides on his route for each marathon once he arrives in the country. His choices can be hit and miss. Kuala Lumpur was a definite hit. Photo: Nick Butter

The logistical juggling act has continued apace too. Helpers arrange visas, flights and hotels, allowing him to focus on the physical challenge. However, not all visas can be arranged while on the road. Visa processes for countries such as China and Russia require biometric data provided in your home country. So Butter has been interspersing his runs with trips back to the United Kingdom.

Marathon number 127 in Laos was supported by the British Embassy. Photo: Nick Butter

Butter is on day 458 of his challenge and has just completed marathon number 132 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It might seem that he has broken the back of the challenge, with “only” 64 marathons to go, but numbers don’t tell the whole story. Though he has completed a swathe of Africa, he has yet to tackle the more difficult countries of the interior: the Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others, still remain. How Butter’s team manage the difficulties of securing visas for these, and Middle Eastern war zones like Yemen, will determine if he can stick to the schedule and give his weary legs a proper break come November.

Butter’s most recent marathon took him through the Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan. Photo: Nick Butter

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Nick Butter: 196 Countries, 196 Marathons