Afghanistan Complete, Butter Heads Back to Africa
After Tajikistan, it was on to Uzbekistan for Butter. Arriving at his hotel in Tashkent he was met by Lucas, a man he had met just a few months previously at the national running show in the UK. Lucas had been keen to join him for a run and had settled on Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan as opportunities to do so.
Lucas turned out to be a bit out of practice. Tashkent marked his first marathon in 18 months and he was hot and red-faced by the end. The pair ran part of the way with two local contacts and their route took them all over the city.
Day 466 took them to Baku, Azerbaijan. The “City of Winds” lived up to the name; Butter and Lucas fought a headwind for most of their run. They started out in the old town before moving to the edge of the Caspian Sea for the closing stretch.
Lucas now headed back to the UK and Butter headed on to one of the more logistically complicated countries on his list: Afghanistan. Arriving in Kabul, Butter was escorted by armoured car to a United Nations compound. For 48-hours he would be staying there inside a converted shipping container! The next day he was scheduled to join five armoured vehicles and ten armed guards in convoy towards the mountains in the north. Unfortunately, these plans were ditched as orders came from on high that the resources could not be spared. Instead, Butter joined a collection of UN personnel to run laps of the 1km compound. Marathon complete, he was at least able to venture out with another convoy to Lake Band-e Qargha (the cheerfully named Dam of Drowning).
Flying out of Kabul, it was back to the UK for lots of media appointments and the London marathon. Butter met a host of celebrities during his trip, including Andy Murray, Eliud Kipchoge and Mo Farah, while also finding time to sort out a few more visas and run the extra marathon!
Next, it was a complete change of scene. From London, he flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He elected to run down from the hills into the town and was immediately hit by the altitude. Once in the city, he had to contend with both the altitude and the traffic fumes. It was a lung-busting run but he managed to complete it and tick off marathon number 137.