By way of a little background…
In mid-December 2019, on my first walk outdoors after tearing the meniscus in my left knee, I decided to listen to a podcast from The Marathon Training Academy, hoping to inspire myself to recover and get my morale back. That day’s podcast featured a young British ultra-runner called Nick Butter, and he had just become the first person ever to run a marathon in every country in the world – yup, you can’t get much more inspiring than that, now, can you?!
A marathon in every country on the planet. And in record time.
In the podcast, Mr. Butter sounded charming and delightfully low-key about such a stupendous feat, and I noted that there was talk of a book.
In the meantime, I started following Nick Butter on Instagram, watching in amazement as he undertook yet another super-impressive running adventure – this time running 100 marathons in 100 days, covering the length of Italy from the Alps to Sicily.
And the book, you ask?
A SUPER read, truly.
And, very importantly, this is not a book about running per se, meaning non-runners will not for one second feel excluded. This is a book charting the adventures and the mishaps, the highs and the lows of a young man on a mission to visit every country in the world – and then run a marathon there.
Mr. Butter explains why he decided to set out on this breathtakingly complex and expensive challenge, and he is fulsome in his praise of his parents, who headed up his support base back home in England. It wasn’t until I read the book that I really grasped the sheer logistical immensity of undertaking such a feat. The visas, the flights, the knock-on effect of just one flight delay. The expense. The vulnerability. The sheer numbing exhaustion of flying, and time zones, and so much waiting around – and THEN running a marathon…it is truly inspirational to read this story.
It is also seriously exhausting! Joking aside, I’m a marathoner (a very, very slow marathoner) but the thought of flying and running a marathon on the same day, is, as I said, exhausting. My admiration for this intrepid young man knows no bounds.
Mr. Butter is a great storyteller, easily bringing to life people with whom he has just a fleeting acquaintance – the people who turn out to run with him, the staff in hotels, the drivers who cruise alongside him in dodgy parts of the world carrying supplies.
There are moments of danger and injury, of fear and frustration, of hunger (poor fellow, running marathons on an empty stomach!) and there are also moments of sheer, unabated joy. Joy at the world he is visiting, the joy of running, the joy at all the kindness shown to him.
A super read.
And, I repeat, absolutely not “only” for runners.