Eddie Izzard completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief

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Edward John "Eddie" Izzard (born 7 February 1962) is an English stand-up comedian and actor. His comedy style takes the form of rambling, whimsical monologue and self-referential pantomime.

Izzard's works include standup sets Unrepeatable, Definite Article, Glorious, Dress to Kill, Circle, Sexie and Stripped. He had a starring role in the television series The Riches as Wayne Malloy and has appeared in many motion pictures such as Ocean's Twelve, Ocean's Thirteen, Mystery Men, The Cat's Meow and Across the Universe.

He has cited his main comical role model as Monty Python, and John Cleese once referred to him as the "Lost Python." He is also known for his transvestism.

On 27 July 2009, with only 5 weeks training and no significant history of prior running, Izzard began seven-weeks of back-to-back marathon runs (with Sundays off) through the UK to raise money for Sport Relief. He ran from London to Cardiff to Belfast to Edinburgh and back to London carrying flags of England, Scotland or Wales depending on which he was in and carried a self-designed green flag bearing a white dove when in Northern Ireland. The blog Eddie Iz Running was a document of his road running marathon, in which he ran 43 marathons in 51 days. He completed the run on 15 September 2009, after having run at least 27 miles each day, 6 days a week for 7 weeks straight, covering more than 1,100 miles across the uk. Izzard received a special award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009 for his achievements.

Izzard ran his final marathon in five hours and 30 seconds, narrowly outside his projected rate. However, had he not stopped and waited 20 minutes for his film crew to catch up with him he would have finished well under his target time. In March 2010, Izzard took part in the Sport Relief Mile event.

Following the completion of the marathon runs, Izzard has started training to take part in an Ironman Triathlon, saying he has become fascinated with fitness "because there's no point in throwing away all that training".

Source: Wikipedia


The Guardian article on his ultra marathon:

Last summer Eddie Izzard decided to run around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales though not necessarily, as Eric Morecambe said, in the right order. The touching and thought provoking programme, Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man, was buried alive quite late at night on BBC3 but, if you missed it, there are two more episodes.

To say he did it for Sports Relief is true up to a point. The real reason is harder to fathom. He had to run 1,000 miles ? 43 consecutive marathons ? followed by a motorised rickshaw (with the camera crew) and an ice-cream van (with Flake 99s). To see him stumbling along in blinding rain, no cheers, no crowds, no pavements, carrying the sodden flag of the appropriate country, made you want to shout: "Excelsior!"

He was 47 and far more accustomed to six-inch heels than trainers. The director of the Olympic Medical Institute, Professor Greg Whyte, rallying from the initial shock, said: "Being a competitive athlete is fundamentally miserable. What he needs is people around him." You could, of course, say the same of a comedian. In Thurber's story The Day the Dam Broke, one man starts to run and the whole town joins in. So, along the way, Eddie started to attract what I can only describe as sympathisers. In Devizes a man began involuntarily to run beside him, saying: "Let me shake your hand, because I think there's summat wrong wi' you." Seventy-two-year-old Bruce Tulloch, who once ran across America, joined him for a while, wondering why runners run. A couple of wild Welsh ponies, manes flying, galloped up to watch. On the Brecon Beacons, when the motorised rickshaw ran out of puff, his whole camera crew (fluffy caterpillar and all) got out and ran after him.

In Skewen, South Wales, he knocked on a door and said: "My name's Eddie Izzard. I used to live here." His mother, however, died there. "I was six, so I think it's all about that loss of love and my desperation for it. I turned to an audience as a substitute." As a teenager he cycled to Skewen from London. "I keep going back. Probably to recapture the time before my Mum died. It makes you very independent. Very cold and shut off, really. This drive, because of something that disappeared . . . maybe I'm just a big kid still determined to do these adventures I invent in my head."

Running 30 miles a day on blistered and infected feet ("I could lose my toenails," he said. "You could lose your nipples, too," replied Jo, his therapist, heartlessly) gives you plenty of time to think about this and that. If only to stop you thinking about your nails and your nipples. About being a transvestite, for instance. "I'm a transvestite, but I will thump people if they give me a hard time. I don't understand why. But I was given these cards. And I'm honest about it. It's genetic. Not my choice. Just be truthful and get on with it." All punctuated with gasping breaths. "And does the road wind upwards all the way? Yes, to the very end."

Towards the end of the 10th marathon, he collapsed. When they told him there were three switchback miles to go, he said: "I do that then." His therapist begged him to walk, but he did it running and, to celebrate, freewheeled downhill into Builth Wells (pop. approx 2,000) and a rousing civic reception. "I like making a little bit of a rumpus, a little bit of a circus coming to town, because I grew up in Bexhill, and not much happens in Bexhill." Even less, I suspect, in Builth Wells, but when it does they make the most of it. Twitter had gone ahead like a carrier pigeon and the street was packed with cheering people, boys pulling faces at the camera, and the obligatory dog. Eddie's unadvertised gig seemed to be collecting an audience as it went along, as a boat collects barnacles.

The sunset sky glowed rosy. Perhaps it wouldn't rain tomorrow. He had run 277 miles in 11 days. There were only 800 or so more miles to go. He said: "I will finish. By hook or by crook, I Will Finish."

And you knew that, short of a thunderbolt, he would. If you are going to run you must ? so to speak ? be driven.

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