Racing Frustration and Fascination in West Africa

The road to Guinea-Bissau was fraught with complications, heat and potholes, a breakdown, a forest fire and a gentleman who taught Butter how to sew a dress. Though the next day’s run was hot and dusty, he crossed through a kind of “possibly Christian” parade where people hugged him, danced with him and sang in his face. Butter described the days as incredibly frustrating, but fascinating.

Butter’s car suffers a breakdown on the way to Guinea-Bissau

While running his Guinea-Bissau marathon, Butter ran into a parade of dancers that sang to him and hugged him.

If Guinea-Bissau was difficult, it was at least interesting. Ivory Coast failed to impress Butter as much. He had hours of visa problems, and the run itself was just a razor-straight 13 mile road – 13 miles in, 13 miles back.

Guinea seemed to be just about one of the worst places to run a marathon – narrow streets overpopulated with people and animals, burning trash, sewage, dead animals, cars constantly honking at him and almost hitting him.

Sierra Leone seemed to be a huge relief as Butter spent the time with expats relaxing at beaches and local watering holes. On a more humanitarian note, he visited a children’s hospital where a woman friend of his is a doctor. His marathon coincided with another one called Street Child where he ran with many expats. It was a welcome overcast and sprinkling day cooling it down. He helped a woman who skinned her knees as well as another one who struggled to finish.

Kids in Sierra Leone.

Liberia was also very positive as it was lush, green and only 86 degrees with a slight breeze and “water whenever [he] wanted it”. This was in part because he decided to do the run out near the airport, about 30 miles from the capital city.

Nick Butter is running a marathon in every country in the world, 196 in all, to draw awareness to prostate cancer. Click here for the Running the World 196 profile with lots of pictures, previous entries and more.

The Best Quest provides visual experiences of journeys. One by one you see the latest updates from the best expeditions and journeys currently under way around the world. Click here for more details.