Nick Butter at the finish of the Athens Authentic Marathon, the last in his quest to run a marathon in every country in the world.

Having travelled, ran, and been immersed in every country on the planet I have a unique and privileged perspective on the world.

I’d like to use this short article to tell the world my findings, and my view on how we can act to individually leave the world better than we found it.

It took me 674 days to run a marathon in every country on the planet. That is 3 marathons, in 3 countries a week, every week, for 96 weeks. (With a few days off here and there to spend in an uncomfortable airports or locked in a cell for example). Despite the additional 2 years that came before the journey – which were spent planning, along with the exhaustive cost, the logistical nightmares, and the tension of setting numerous world firsts and world records – I’d do it all again in a heart beat. I  spent in energy, time, and money, and was rewarded with a bucket load of context and perspective. The world is bloody fantastic but we need to do more to help those that suffer.

The world is fragile. The world is beautiful. The world is OURS. What i find so fascinating is that the interaction between humans and planet earth are so unseen in the bigger picture. We take it for granted that the sun will rise, that we can drink clean water, that we can have a family, a home, shelter and food.

Firstly let me state: Today, the world we live in, is the best it’s ever been. The number of people living below the poverty line has halved in the last 20 years. That is huge, and it’s because we have taken responsibility and acted. However! And it’s a big however. We are still evolving and as is the planet. We have a responsibly, a duty and an opportunity to us our privilege to help those without.

I’ve seen many violent, politically volatile and misunderstood nations. Nearly all of which could be supported through education. Education is the key to a great deal of success so far, and naturally education results in learning. I’m a big advocate of leaving the world better than we found it – to use the power of ONE. The power of the individual effort is where we should focus. Your time on earth isn’t going to last forever. Let’s use it now.

Something very striking to me over the past 2 years of my life is how individual acts of kindness, bravery, and courage have such a huge positive impact. I’m a great believer that most of the western rich world don’t understand how lucky we are. We have this exceptional privilege to live abundant lives – and yet we often get caught in societies grip and falling into the trap of believing we need a new car, a bigger house, or smarter suit.

I spoke to a brilliant women in Sierra Leone – She was 29, and had 2 sick children in hospital in Freetown, the capital. The hospital, ran by volunteers, had nothing but beds and a handful of overseas doctors. Very little medication, no medical machines, no equipment, and not even windows. I learnt here how £90 could save the lives of both her children, feed them, and school them for a year. The mother couldn’t even afford the cost of understanding what was wrong with her children, it was likely something easily cured. As i was leaving the hospital feeling helpless and shocked, I learnt that she had already had 7 of her 9 children die. She was brave, hurting, suffering and scared.

Now do you need that new suit or car or phone? I think not. You want it, but she NEEDS that medicine, support and family.

The world is a gift, today is an opportunity to better ourselves, the plant and our fellow human beings.

I now live in a world where i understand the power of each of us – i hope we can come together to make a great lasting difference.

British athlete, writer, and speaker, and the first and only person to run a marathon in every country in the world