Eddie Izzard to run 27 marathons in 27 days for Sport Relief

Comedian is planning to run over 700 miles in South Africa in honour of the late Nelson Mandela

Eddie Izzard will attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days for Sport Relief 2016.

Izzard’s 27 marathons will take place in South Africa, with the comedian tracing a route across the country that echoes the life’s journey of the late Nelson Mandela. If Izzard completes all 27 marathons – one for each year Mandela spent in prison – he will have run over 700 miles in total.

In a BBC press release, Izzard explained that he devised the epic running challenge after watching the 2009 film Invictus, in which Morgan Freeman portrays the late revolutionary and politician.

“Watching the film I suddenly realised I have to run in South Africa,” Izzard said. “I should run 27 marathons in 27 days as a salute to the great man. It is also a salute to all who struggled and fought against Apartheid. So I am delighted to be doing this for Sport Relief.”

“But of course – 27 marathons in 27 days is nothing compared to what Nelson Mandela did by serving 27 years in prison,” Izzard added. “He was a great soul and leaves a fantastic legacy for the world.”

Izzard will begin the first of his 27 marathons on February 23 and is scheduled to cross the finishing line of his final marathon on March 20. His 27 days of running will be covered exclusively on the new, online-only BBC Three.

Izzard previously completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief in 2009. He had planned to run a similar succession of marathons in South Africa in 2012 but was forced to pull out for health reasons.