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Running the World By Nick Butter

Release date: 24th November, 2020
Publisher: Bantam Books

List Price: £15.00
Our Price: £11.55
You Save: £3.45 (22%)
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Toronto’s weather was predictably freezing. It was, after all, January, when temperatures regularly plummet to minus 30C and people still travel to work without giving either the climate or their mode of transport a second thought.

Nick Butter had arrived in Toronto from the UK intent on completing a marathon in every country on Earth but hadn’t expected it to be quite as cold as it was. He believed the mercury might drop to a comparatively balmy minus 5C, but as the temperature was minus 25C, it meant he was dramatically under-prepared on the clothing front and had to borrow 90% of his kit just to keep warm.

From this inauspicious start unfolds an amazing journey as Butter spends almost two years on his life-enhancing expedition, visiting 196 countries, combining oodles of well-observed travel writing with the inspiring journal of a man running to raise money for prostate cancer.

Properly clothed but still cold, Butter prepares to set off with a trio of companions. His most important pre-marathon task is to set his GPS device in order that his incredible journey can be tracked and recorded by Guinness World Records. As he wryly observes: he doesn’t want to run any of his marathons twice.

“Happiness is only real when shared” is a quote Butter keeps close to his heart and the number of new friends he makes on his phenomenal marathon voyage is testament to the line’s truthfulness.

We’re regularly guided through the practicalities of running a marathon every few days – sweaty kit, which makes packing, ahem, difficult. His nutritional plans often go awry too: he eats only bagels and Nutella in the US and following a water shortage in the Bahamas, drinks only milk. Neither sound ideal preparation for running 26.2 miles every few days.

Not surprisingly, there are several hair-raising moments. In Guatemala, he circumnavigates an erupting volcano and is chased by wild dogs in Tunisia. By the time he reaches Syria, he must negotiate a series of battlefields to complete his requisite mileage.

In a year when it’s been nigh-on impossible to consider any form of international travel, Nick Butter’s story succeeds in satiating our armchair-only craving for foreign parts. Running the World is also an inspirational story of an extraordinarily committed man on a mission, one which has you considering doing a little more than your usual notional exercise.


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