Day 374 – Muscat, Oman
The Grand Mosque, mountains, new friends, the National Museum, parliament, the beach, an opera house, a great viewpoint, sitting on the floor, and a beige banquet of local food – so that’s pretty much my day.
Oman is beautiful and the people are so friendly. The buildings are no more than 10 floors high, all painted white or pale pastel colours, with either mountains or the sea all around.
Liz was travelling around Beirut recently when she met a friendly lady, Juhaina, who happens to live here, in Oman. A few weeks later Liz gave Juhaina a call, and in the meantime, also messaged me on Instagram telling me about her similar running challenge, and that we were going to cross paths. Through the power of travel and social media three friendly faces all got together – Omani Juhaina, Liz, a girl from Atlanta, USA, living in Paris, and me, a British guy, travelling the world – we all came together in the Middle East to hang out and learn about the country. Perfect. Juhaina was fantastic today, driving us everywhere and even buying us some goodies and snacks – so very lovely of you.
@runtoreach is on a special mission and something I think you’d all be interested to support. Liz is setting out to run 30 organised marathons in 30 countries before she’s 30. She’s 28 now, and has already completed 10. It’s not just any old marathon, though; the locations have been selected to focus and dedicate energy to supporting causes directly. For each of the 30 marathons Liz is giving a little extra. Check out her Instagram and wish her luck.
I was due to run today, but thanks to an early flight yesterday I was able to run in the afternoon. Checkout yesterday’s post if you haven’t already. Today was chilled but still more active than I had planned. We visited the stunning Grand Mosque, ventured along a beach, and then somehow ended the day in a weird restaurant. We had our own private booth with tables and chairs, yet it was still expected that we eat on the floor – rice, chicken, bread, and other brown-coloured things.
Day 375 – Muscat, Oman to Amman, Jordan
The water was crystal clear, warm and inviting; the slippery rocks, on the other hand, not so much. It was warm, though.
Two flights today, but the best bit was visiting a huge sinkhole in the middle of nowhere.
Liz and I organised a driver to take us the 90-minute journey to the mountains. We hiked along a 45-minute route, and dipped our toes into a beautifully clear and warmish wadi. Afterwards, we caught the short boat ride back to the car and then made our way to the sinkhole.
We passed goats, beautiful homes and mountains, and made it to the warm salty circular bowl – nature’s bathtub. Ahhh, swimming bliss. I didn’t have any swim stuff, so therefore the poor old ladies sunning themselves had to see me in my underpants, hobbling around on stones, trying to get in and out of the water. I looked like a right plonker.
An early start meant we could fit everything in before I had to head off to the airport for 4pm, and it was so worth it. Thanks to our driver.
A great day out exploring today. Shame to say bye to such a beautiful landscape – the white of the buildings mixed with the yellow pastel colours of the huge rock formations that shadowed the city from behind. The cars, and even everyone’s clothes, were generally white. I met a wonderful family, saw all the different sides to the city, chatted to locals and made new friends.
Please continue to donate to Prostate Cancer UK. I want to get closer to that target figure of £250,000. I have so many countries to experience and this first couple of weeks back in the game has been amazing but full on, busy and I’m a little tired now.
I arrived here in Jordan about an hour ago after two flights connecting me from Oman to Saudi Arabia to Jordan – 10 hours in total… in 8 hours I’m up and running again. Amman, let’s see what you’ve got to offer.
Day 376 – Amman, Jordan, Marathon 105
Well, that was horrible. Floppy hair, gravel-proof sunglasses, stray dogs and hills, oh, the hills.
There are some very beautiful, lovely parts of Jordan, but Amman is not one of them. Pretty crappy city centre, bleak weather, busy roads, mini sand storm, and tonight, shortly after I got back, it snowed. Strange to come from 28°C to 8°C, plus wind.
Donations so far… The JustGiving page is currently showing £22,117 – please add to it a little. It was brutal today. Just a reminder – I want to hit £250,000 for @prostatecancerUK by November 11th 2019. A marathon in every country in the world. Please give where you can. The link is in my biography bit. Or just text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070. Thank you so much.
Tomorrow I pop to the UK to speak at the National Running Show. @nationalrunningshow Loads of great speakers, great runners, and it will be great to see some familiar faces. Warning you, Running Show, I am turning up in my travel gear. No time to go home.
If you are going to the Running Show, just drop me a message and maybe we can say hi.
Tomorrow’s travel plans are long. A connection in Saudi Arabia again, meaning an overnight flight and no doubt a sleepy Nicholas in the morning. If I fall asleep while speaking, just talk amongst yourselves. Cheers.
Day 377 – Amman, Jordan to UK via Saudi Arabia
Nice to find a piano to have a little tinkle while I wait for my taxi. The Kempinski Hotel has been fab – thanks guys. It was nice to have a round of applause too.
Today went like this:
09:00 Interview 1
11:00 Interview 2
12:00 Interview 3
13:00 ✍ Admin
17:00 Play piano
17:15 Taxi to airport
20:00 ✈ Flight to Saudi Arabia
23:00 Land in Riyadh
24:00 ♾ Lounge food
01:45 ✈ Flight to United Kingdom
08:00 Land in London
I have just a few days in the UK for two reasons. Last year I was invited to speak at the National Running Show; sadly, my flights were already booked for the first few months of my journey, and I was actually due to be in Cuba. This year, however, we planned a little more wisely and made myself available. Throughout the trip I have to return home to the UK for short periods of time to collect visas and exchange passports. The team linked this trip home in time for the talk. So once I collect my bags, I visit the visa office, swap passports and head to the Chinese Embassy to do my biometrics before travelling to Birmingham for the @nationalrunningshow Tomorrow’s post will pick up from where we left off.
Please keep donating. Raising £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK by running a marathon in every country in the world. Only another 91 countries and 91 marathons remaining. Not the easy ones, though. Please donate by clicking the link in my biography or text ‘NRTW89 £5’ to 70070. Cheers.
Day 378 – London to Birmingham, UK
Following on from yesterday’s long 24-hour journey back to the motherland, I was now bound for Barbican tube station and then a half-mile walk down the road to see Universal Visas. The journey wasn’t over yet. This photo is from my launch with my sponsors @energizermobile
As I’ve said many times, when I return to the UK, it’s usually for multiple reasons. I was returning primarily to speak at the National Running Show in Birmingham but also needed to collect two visas, for Afghanistan and China.
However, due to a rather frustrating 65-minute wait for my bags in Heathrow, and an initial 50 minutes’ delay taking off from Saudi Arabia, I was now two hours behind schedule and rushing to get to the tube and into central London before my time slot at the Chinese visa office expired.
I had a call from Maz. Maz is my lifeline when it comes to visas. He does everything from form filling to sorting out the juggling act of passports and logistical planning. It’s not easy to gather visas for multiple countries all over the world and with a time constraint… so far Maz has been a saint, and has worked tirelessly to make this happen. Everyone at Universal Visas are simply fab. Thank you.
After the phone call from Maz, and then subsequent calls to family and my team, we decided to abandon the visas and head straight to Birmingham. Afghanistan would have to be moved again, and China, we will have to re-think. I’ll likely fly to Hong Kong instead, to avoid the visa restriction. Hong Kong operates on a separate administrative process to the rest of China, luckily for me.
So it’s now 10pm, after a faff in London and a long train… it’s now time to sleep after my 48-hour maze of a journey. I’m staying in a hotel just over the road from the NEC and so I’ll be up and out early to head over, ready to support the other speakers. Excited.
Day 379 – National Running Show, Birmingham, UK
Speaking day @nationalrunningshow
Elbowing past people, the hum of chatter, kids running up and down on the test track, the main stage crowds, the VIP speakers’ tent, and the queues of visitors snaking around the corner and out of the venue. What a day!
I still have no idea, though, why most attendees wear running gear. Spandex, Lycra and squeaky-clean trainers were all the eye could see…
A big congratulations to all of the team who put all their effort into making the @nationalrunningshow a success. Day one has been brilliant.
It was a pleasure to catch up with @susie_chan_ @the401challenge and @mikeseaman2709 I also met Roger Black, Vassos Alexander, Brendan Randell, Steve Edwards, and so many more inspiring people. I was constantly bumping into familiar faces. I hope to see you all again next year.
When I wasn’t speaking on the main stage I spent my time over in the ‘Ask the Experts’ area, attempting to help a few beginner runners with training ideas or shoe choices. I am really not an expert on anything, especially running. I might do it a lot but, actually having real knowledge, not really.
Thanks to all those who came to listen to me give an update on my adventure. I was the only speaker who was mid-journey. I think all that meant really is I didn’t have the ‘stand back’ awareness that you only find when you’ve completed something like this, but more than anything, I think it just meant I was very tired. I stayed awake thanks to a @redbull and some sugar.
A BIG THANK YOU AND A HUG to all those lovely people who came to congratulate me on my journey and wish me luck for the remaining 91 countries.
Donations, donations, donations please! Just give what you can via JustGiving to help me reach my goal of raising £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK – see the link in my bio – just £5 from lots of you will make a big difference. We need to stop men dying.
Day 380 – National Running Show, Birmingham, UK, ‘Ask the Experts’
Day two in the melee of people enjoying the world of running @nationalrunningshow So great to have such amazing runners in one place.
Thanks to everyone who listened to me speak. I hope you enjoyed it.
A shout out to Charlie and @white.tiger.expeditions A good friend and a guy I met running, @globetrekcharlie has a super business based around adventure, travel, mountaineering and trail running. If you love mountains or running or scenery or … then check out White Tiger Expeditions. If you fancy a 15-day trail running adventure through the Himalayas… get in touch with his team.
The reason I mention this today is because I finally managed to catch up with him at the Running Show. Great to see you guys! I was also lucky enough to bump into so many people who knew me or we’ve actually run together in various races over the years. The running community is awesome.
Thanks, Rowena, for dropping in and saying hi! I really appreciate the effort – just wish we could have caught up for longer.
After spending several hours on the ‘Ask the Experts’ stand I rushed off to resolve some logistical issues with the next phase, and had an early night.
British Endurance Athlete | Motivational Speaker | Adventurer
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