Actor and comedian Eddie Izzard completed a challenge to run 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa on Sunday. “Twenty seven” was meant to represent the number of years Nelson Mandela spent in prison, before becoming the first black president of South Africa.
Izzard, 54, had to run two marathons on the final day to complete the challenge, and traversed over 707 miles over the 27 days.
He has raised more than £1.35m through the challenge, for the Sport Relief 2016 fund.
Izzard had previously attempted a similar challenge in 2012, but was forced to pull out because of health issues. He said that “he knew he would be back” when he couldn’t achieve his target then. During his current run as well, he battled dehydration, sunstroke and heat exhaustion, but soldiered on. He lost one day (the fifth) of his run, however, for an unscheduled rest, which was why he had to run two marathons on the final day.
At the end of his endurance feat, Izzard celebrated by swigging from a bottle of sparkling wine, and exhorted fans: “Do not do this at home”.
“I can’t stand upright, I have a huge blister and I’m exhausted. But I’m delighted,” Izzard told the Guardian.
In 2009, Izzard had run 43 marathons in 52 days for Sports Relief. He has said that coming out as transgender earlier had prepared him for such endurance challenges.
"I came out as transgender 30 years ago and that was tricky to do," Izzard was quoted as saying. "It sounds bizarre but, ever since that point, I’ve been able to do quite difficult things. Walking out of the door wearing heels and makeup was so hard. I had to get my brain ready to do that. But it prepared me for everything else difficult that I’ve ever done in my life."
"If I can do 26 miles every day," he added, "anyone can."