Eddie iz done

... and his last marathon was his quickest yet

You have to feel sorry for the poor pensioner, sat all in pinkin her wheelchair on the empty plinth on Trafalgar Square. Not because the heavens opened right at the start of her hour in the One And Other art installation, but because few of the crowds gathering in Trafalgar Square gave her a second look.

Well-wishers, charity workers, cheerleaders, stiltwalkers, trombone players and men in outsize mascot suits all gathered on a miserably drenched day in central London to watch a man run past. This wasn’t just any jogger, mind, but Eddie Izzard – completing his 43rd consecutive marathon in just 52 days.

He’d had little training for a run that would take him more than 1,100 miles from London to Cardiff to Belfast to Edinburgh – and back again. Just five weeks, less time than most people train for one marathon, but it proved ample.

And on his last day, when you thought he ought to be in no shape for anything, the 47-year-old completed his marathon in a personal best time – just 30 seconds over five hours. He expressed some disappointment in not breaking the 300-minute mark, but there can be no denying the sense of achievement amid the more pressing sense of exhaustion as he crossed the finish line, running up the steps in front of the National Gallery, Rocky-style.

Still, rather than collapse in a heap, he fielded questions from journalists, keen to promote the Sport Relief charity and urge people to log onto his eddieizrunning.com website; and contribute to the £200,000 he has undoubtedly raised. Was it the greatest thing he’d done, asked one reporter? Yes, physically, but performing in French was a greater mental challenge.

'Being here is very nice,' he said. 'When I left here seven and a half weeks ago there was nobody here, it was just a cold morning. The worst part of the whole experience was the last three minutes sprinting down The Mall, that was really tough.'

'I'm going to have a party somewhere that's dry and then I'm going to sleep for a week.'

He added: 'I don’t think what I did was amazing. Anyone can do it.’ That may be debatable, and even so, the point is that he did it.

Izzard took up running as a way to get fit in the days while touring, and new dates in the States and back in the UK await next year. But that’s for later, first he has to soak those feet…

Here he is on the finish line:

Published: 15 Sep 2009

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