We want to congratulate athlete, adventurer and Bremont Ambassador Nick Butter on completing his incredible #RUNBRITAIN challenge to raise awareness and funds for his charity The 196 Foundation – an amazing feat of endurance and dedication.
Crossing the finish line at The Eden Project on Sunday 22nd August, wearing his Bremont S302, Nick successfully completed 5,240 miles around the British mainland over 128 days, enduring double marathon days and suffering from broken bones and many mental barriers. This endeavour marks the fastest circumnavigation of Britain on foot.
Nick is inviting people to sign up to be a monthly donor to the 196 Foundation which raises vital funds to deliver aid globally. By donating as little as £1.96 per month, donors have the unique ability to vote on projects that the Foundation supports. Nick comments: “This could be anything from helping a neighbour to buy a wheelchair, drilling wells in developing countries, or bigger still – building schools or funding education programmes. We need donors!”
Bremont sat down to chat with Nick following his incredible venture…
HOW ARE YOU FEELING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY AFTER THE RUN?
I am feeling relieved to be finished, like with everything this big you instantly miss the prospect of not having to do anything tomorrow, even though you have been wanting to do it for so long. Even so 5,240 miles in 128 days feels pretty good. I am going to eat, sleep, tidy the van, have a little bit of rest, then move onto the next thing.
SO HOW DID THE IDEA OF RUN BRITAIN COME ABOUT?
Run Britain was born from COVID really. We had lots of other plans including running north and south of Malawi, north and south of New Zealand, a circumnavigation of Iceland and then we realised that COVID was going to prevent these being possible, so we changed our plans. Having been around the world I felt a bit foolish for not having run around our own little island, which I have since discovered is not as small as I’d expected it to be! It was a bit mad and so last minute as we had everything sorted for the other trips, but I was desperate to do something, and we did it.
EACH DAY RUNNING TWO MARATHONS A DAY, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
Running that kind of mileage every day, the first few days, 52 52… Then your body starts to really give up and after that it’s your mind which starts to suffer as you have had such little sleep. After months and months your body starts to degrade so much that you can’t keep the calories in. I was consuming 8000 calories every day and running through a pair of trainers once a week, so it’s physically really tough but not just on me, also on the team – it’s not like going off and doing some massive race for the week, it’s having the people who you care for and love around you who you rely upon, and I am so grateful to them.
WHEN YOU HIT THE TOUGHER TIMES WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET THROUGH IT?
The motivation to get me through everything is looking at the bigger picture. For instance, what I learnt from running across the globe is that we are very privileged in the West, and I have an amazing opportunity to help people. I am choosing to put myself through a lot of pain and many people in the world do not get that freedom. We have these amazing opportunities in the West, so for example, when I am running in horrible conditions and my bones start to break and I blister I just think - I get to receive free healthcare, get it sorted and go. It’s important to think about life from that angle. Even though times can be horrible and tough, and you want to stop, and you are mentally battling it, thinking in this way gets me through.
YOU TENDED TO START YOUR JOURNEY ALONE IN THE MORNINGS AND THEN OTHER PEOPLE JOINED YOU THROUGHOUT, HOW WAS THAT?
Yes, the community aspect was great. There were two sides to it for me, I love running with others and it enabled me to run with so many different people all over the world. It amazes me that we have run with veterans, surgeons, anaesthetists… you name it. I’d start the day really sleepy as the birds are waking up and then get the adrenaline, endorphin fun-filled afternoon as we had more and more people joining us. The only problem was that it’s exhausting speaking with people all day and definitely adds to the fatigue!
WHAT WERE THE HAPPIEST AND BEST MOMENTS AND THE TOUGH TIMES?
The highs were people coming out and running with me, discovering beautiful places that I wasn’t expecting. To be in the wonder of nature for so long every day is the biggest thing that I have taken from this whole journey. As it’s not like I’ve been running for a few hours on a Sunday, I’ve been out for 12 hours every day come rain or shine and through that I have really learnt to connect with nature.
The bad bits are when you are mentally and physically tired, and you add the general fatigue of just a normal human being and normal hormonal peaks and troughs of life. Inevitably you have a trough when grumpy with lack of sleep, injury, not enough food, rain and wind and you can take it out on the people around you, but they are the people who are making it happen. It is a testament to them that they are still here and we remain great mates.
DID YOU CHOOSE TO RUN AROUND BRITAIN BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT OF COVID ON TRAVEL?
We chose Britain not just because of COVID, but because I liked to the idea of flipping it into a positive thing. So, when we started planning, it was April 17th, two days after the lockdown was lifted. It meant that all of a sudden, people could run with me again and I almost wanted it to be a celebration of what we have at home. Everybody was moaning about not being able to get away, yet everybody hadn’t even been out of their own county. So why don’t you just explore the island which we have? COVID has been terrible for everybody, but I feel that we have tried to spin it into a bit of a positive.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS TIMEKEEPING? DID YOU NEED TO BE PRECISE WITH YOUR TIMEKEEPING CHECKPOINTS?
Timekeeping was really important on the trip. I used my watch every day to ensure that I was running to a particular set pace and fuelling up every hour. Timing was the one thing which we were talking about the most on the trip. Without a concept of time there wouldn’t have been a challenge, or bedtime – which I was looking forward to every day. I aimed to be fast enough to know I had done enough that day, but slow enough to know I could recover and do it all over again. So, pace and time management were hugely important and stressful at times, but without it, we would never have achieved what we have.
HOW MUCH DID YOUR BREMONT WATCH AID YOU IN THIS REGARD?
I wear the S302 and I am a really big fan of not just the watch but the strap, but the simplicity of the face and I have now taken this watch around the whole country. I don’t know another Bremont watch which has gone around the entire country’s coastline and I am pretty pleased about that - it has been a little companion of mine.
WHICH CHARITIES WERE YOU RUNNING FOR AND WHAT WAS THE OVERARCHING GOAL OF THE RUN?
The whole reason I ran around Britain with the help of so many people was to raise funds and awareness for a charity that we set up a few years ago called the 196 Foundation. This is a charity that supports groups, individuals, charities, non-charities anywhere in the world and the idea is that we ask for donations from individuals for £1.96 per month – so just under £24 a year.
Every month you donate and then every year we ask the donors to vote on where they would like their money to go. It’s the concept of a democratic donorship, whereby the donors get a say in who we help, and I felt that was a fundamental part of our charity when we set it up.
We didn’t want to set up a charity which only helps one specific cause, we wanted to help as many people as possible from something small and local, to more impactful, global projects such as drilling wells in Malawi or building a school in Kenya or supporting Orphanages in Haiti. There is so much to be done around the world and if everybody can get behind the foundation then we can make huge changes through tiny donations. The 196 Foundation is doing brilliant work already and I am really proud of it hence why I used this trip as a way to launch it.
I am really grateful for Bremont’s support, and I am genuinely honoured to wear their watches and to be part of the Bremont family. I am really pleased that Bremont not only believes in me but I’m also a big fan so it’s nice to know that’s reciprocated.