Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man for Sport Relief (2016) - full transcript

Documentary following the comedian as he pushes his body and sense of humour to the limit for Sport Relief by taking on the immense challenge of travelling to South Africa to run 27 marathons in 27 days to mark the number of years that his hero Nelson Mandela spent in prison. Cameras chart Eddie's gruelling, uplifting and hilarious journey through baking heat, high roads and hospitals - but can he make it to the final finish line?

Eddie Izzard - comedian, actor and occasional long-distance runner.

Eddie's come to South Africa - and he's been here before.

Is that from last time?

It's his second attempt at a seemingly impossible challenge.


It all began four years ago, in 2012, when Eddie set out

on a super-tough South African journey -

to run 27 marathons in 27 days.



And why did he set himself this mammoth task?

To celebrate one of his great heroes - the anti-apartheid leader

and South African President Nelson Mandela,

who spent 27 years in prison for his political beliefs...

..but four marathons in, on his original attempt,

Eddie was struggling.

His pee turned a darker shade of weird.

It's still red.

All was not right. The medics called a halt.

You've got to go to Casualty.

A devastated Eddie spent three days in hospital.

The challenge was called off - but he made a promise.

I don't want to give up.

Looks like Africa beat me this time.

I will return and finish this.

Four years later, true to his word, a leaner, healthier Eddie

has returned to South Africa to finish the job...

It's just dawn. Over here, we've got donkeys at the bus stop.

..and this time, he's given himself an added incentive -

he's raising cash for Sport Relief.

- Eddie! Eddie!

We're just running for Sport Relief.

I don't know if you've got any spare milk you can...?

But second time around, the challenge is just as tough...

..and just as painful.


Spray me! Spray me like crazy!



This time, can Eddie make it all the way to the finish?

Oh, stop. I want to stop.

This programme contains some strong language.

Um... Hi.

I have to run 27 marathons in 27 days, from tomorrow. No days off.

I tried it four years ago and I failed.

This time, I must succeed.

I think I can do it.


That is sunrise. This is Africa.


I should just get this thing going.

I just want to get it going.

Can I go now? No, I have to go warm up.


- MAN:
- Arms up.

It's an early morning. Temperatures are still cool.

Eddie's physio, Tim, walks him through the first of many warm-ups.

This is the same flag that I ran with four years ago.

It's a small psychological thing.

Flags are bizarrely powerful and passionate.

- Guys, I'll go.
- OK, Eddie.

- Good luck.
- Cheers.


Eddie's running route will trace the story of Nelson Mandela's life,

starting in his birthplace, here in the Eastern Cape.

It's this area that shaped a young Nelson.

It's rugged, rural and tough -

and tough for Eddie to run in, as it's hotter than hotness!

Midday temperatures can push past 40 degrees.

Yeah, I'm beginning to feel heat on this cheek.

Yeah, it's going to get increasingly hotter.

Well, that's a quarter of a marathon. Easy to do, really.

- Looking good.
- There you go.

Then we'll fake the rest in post... What do you call it? Green screen.

- Postproduction!
- Yeah!

Just put me panting. Slow it down.


We are in Mvezo, and this is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela.

Just in that area was where he was born,

so this area, he would've been around here as a kid.

- I'm just running around.
- Good!

I like the flag.

For Eddie, who has done no heat acclimatisation,

having literally arrived last night,

Day 1 is his extreme marathon-y way

of getting used to soaking up the rays

and familiarising himself with the route he's attempted before.

- Hello. Good to see you again, Zim.
- Yes, nice meeting you again, Eddie.

- We saw each other four years ago.
- Yeah.

You said I was a little bit crazy, and I think I am a little bit crazy.

- We are at Nelson Mandela's village.
- Right.

Right behind you, on the other side, is Nelson Mandela's house.

- Oh, that's...?
- His residence.
- That's where he lived?!
- Across the road.

And, if you look up the road on the other side, there,

mainly on the top of the hill,

you will see his grave on the other side.

I met him once. He didn't know who I was. He thought I was crazy.

And the fact that I failed last time and I've come back -

- he once said, apparently, "Don't judge me by my successes..."
- Yes.

"..judge me by the number of times

- "I failed and got back up again."
- Got up again.
- Exactly.

- Can I have a quick look through?
- Yes, we can go inside. Let's go.

He might be in the middle of a marathon, but Eddie can't resist

finding time for Zim to show him the Mandela Museum.

Oh, here's a good quote.

He was a tonne of energy and charm,

and I would've liked to have known him better.

But instead, I'll have to do this and, er...

Yeah, he's one of my inspirations.

Topped up on inspiration, Eddie, now doing his own long walk, and run,

has plenty of time to ponder the enormity of his own challenge.

I can't read what it says.

- MAN:
- Yay!
- Wahey!


This is Africa, this is what I'll be running through.

I'm running down to Cape Town.

That's crazy - across the face of South Africa.

And then, I want to run through that...

cos it's good for the soul.

So this is Day 2.

I am kind of wondering...

did I really...decide...to do this?

Day 2's route will take Eddie from Nelson Mandela's homelands

to the railway station where he left the provinces.

Tim runs a check on the inside of Eddie's head.

Enthusiasm for today's marathon?

OK. Energy levels?

Eddie flew through Day 1, but he's already suffering with sunburn.

But the real issue is psychological. Rick Matthews has planned the route.

There's a fairly rough gorge you've got to go through.

- Rough ground surface or...?
- Rough ground surface.
- Right, OK.

- Great.
- OK?
- OK.

The worry is not completing all 27 marathons...

rough ground has given Eddie's feet injuries before.

- If we have tension here, we have tension here.
- Exactly.

So tension in the mind gives us tension in the body,

so, if we can just focus on the task for right now...



No, please, don't! Don't hurt my back!

- Please, don't!

Please don't hurt my back.

Oh, fuck!

This is the... It makes it so tough!

Because there's no clear line to run on.

Can you see all this?


That's what makes it bloody hard!

Eddie has run 22km this morning.

- It's the halfway point.
- I need a minute.

- Is it that right-hand side?
- Yeah.
- But he's struggling.
- This is hard.

The rough roads have jarred his back.

To monitor his health, he's brought a doctor -

his old school friend Gary.

God, this is tough!

He's got a little bit of heat fatigue.

His core body temperature's probably...

has obviously gone up very high.

It's making him feel a little bit dizzy and a little bit nauseous.


Oh, stop. I want to stop.

He's feeling pretty crap at the moment, but, hopefully,

we can just get over this little hump and get things back on track.

And, of course, he's worried that he's, second day, hurting -

"Am I going to be able to do this?"


Eddie has run endurance marathons before.

He knows it's not just whether his body can take the pain,

but also if he can beat the doubts in his mind.


He always had a kind of dream - a kind of dreamy kid, fantasies -

and, at that time, we just thought he was some kid

who just was having impossible dreams.

- It's tough.

It's only Day 2.


But the amazing thing about him

is that he's fulfilled many of those dreams -

and continues to have mad dreams

and then work bloody hard to achieve them.

- I need someone to talk to.
- OK.
- WOMAN: Want to run?
- OK.

- MAN:
- See you, Eddie.

Gary is here as a doctor - but, for now, Eddie's got his old schoolmate

to just chat and walk him through the day.

We've known each other since we were 13.

We went to school together.

I have dragged him along. He's a good doctor.

Um, he's a very thoughtful doctor.

I was throwing up about half an hour ago.

Now I feel a little better.

It's all part of running in 35 degrees temperature.

- Is this the finish, by any chance?
- It is, mate.


I run, I walk, I stagger, I crawl.

Whatever, just get it done.

Some coolness.


This is the morning of the third marathon.

I feel slightly more positive this morning.

Today we're going to do one of the slowest marathons

that history has ever seen.

Dr Gary here has said today should be a recovery marathon.

Recovery is normally what you do...

You do a marathon and then you have your recovery day, week, whatever -

but I'm not doing any recovery,

so, the idea of a recovery marathon...

- did you just come up with that?
- Yeah.

He just came up with that.

We're having to invent systems as we go.

Just got to get through these next couple of days.

Psychologically, that was the barrier -

we've got to get beyond the point where it all went wrong last time.

In 2012, I attempted to run 27 marathons in 27 days.

On the third marathon, I started to pee brown-coloured pee,

so that happened on Day 3.

That turned out to be rhabdomyolysis,

where your muscles start shredding, going into your blood stream.

Thank you.

But on this attempt, so far, Eddie's body seems to be holding up.

If there's a psychological barrier from last time,

he's not only pushed through it,

he's positively vaulted it and is frolicking in the fields.

This is goats having a biff session. The ladies, well...

The ladies back there are not that interested.

I'm running to Cape Town for Madiba.

You are running?

- We started from Mvezo, where he was born. Nelson Mandela, yeah?
- Yes.

He was born in his home place and we went through Mqhekezweni,

where he was a teenager

and now we're just going through, we're going to run all the way down.

I've come from England and I'm doing that and I'm a little bit crazy.

I understand it very well.

I like people!

Good afternoon. We're...

We're just running for Sport Relief.

I don't know if you've got any spare milk you can...

Oh, no, you're a he... Oh, no, no.

Well, anything, anything cows could come up with.

Day 4, South Africa.

I think I'm a little stronger than I was.

Today is a key day.

Checking for my body and how it works

and I'm very anxious about this.

Eddie might be anxious

and Dr Gary has to head back to the UK later today,

but his team does include a dedicated medic and ambulance.

Meet Tony.

Exercise is 50% mental and 50% physical.

I'm in the mental stage at the moment.

- What we're doing even more than anything is checking his urine

just to see if there's any blood in the urine.

As well as that, we're going to do some blood tests.

The reason I'm doing the bloods

is to make we're not having any incipient muscle damage

ending up in rhabdomyolysis, which is obviously the big fear.

Eddie's health is paramount, so there is a strict regime.

We need a urine sample, as well,

and we probably shouldn't do that on screen.

Sure, we won't.

Right, take care.

- Keep running.
- See you back in...

- See you back in two weeks.
- Two weeks.

Two weeks? Two weeks' time?

See you, Gary.

As Gary goes to have the pee tested and head home,

Eddie battles on through the rolling hills.

He's off and I'm off.

And a lone road and temperatures like being in a bush fire.

I thought it was going to be quite hot,

but I didn't quite realise it was going to...

I thought we were going to get to 26s up to 30s,

but we're hitting mid-30s every day.

- 39.
- It's 39, baby.

But the weather here can change dramatically,

as a local like Tony knows.

You can see the wind.

It's very, very heavy.

Inside this, we could be having a lot of hail.

If you get hit by hail,

some of this hail appears very, very big and can do a lot of damage

and on top of that, we've got a heck of a lot of lightning

and that is not good.

So I'm keeping an eye on that and if I'm not happy, I'm going to call it.

- OK.
- Cool, thanks.



Coming into a storm in Africa.

If you spin over to there, you can see it coming in.

We're going to keep going. We've done 26km. There's another 16 to go.

But we're heading into a storm. At least it's cool.

The cows - not bothered.

The cows, they're fine and they just carry on...

Let's go.

Thankfully, rain doesn't stop play

and a cooler Eddie breezes through marathon four...

..but next morning, Eddie's been stopped dead in his tracks.

It's Day 5.

I am not running today, which is not the message I wanted to give.

What's happened is that every day we check my pee

to make sure that everything's working internally OK.

Yesterday, we took a safety blood check

and Dr Gary was not happy with the result,

so we're doing an extra safety blood check today

and we're taking a day off, that's what's happening.

To rub salt in his wounds, Eddie's had to return

to the very same hospital

where his attempt crashed to a halt four years ago.

This is where I am at the moment.

About to have my blood test.

It's an anxious wait for the outcome of the tests.

The morning of the fifth day and it's now about 11:30.

I would already have run at least half a marathon by this time.

So, we're now going to go inside.

The results have been sent straight to Dr Gary,

who phones in with the verdict.

It's good news. Sort of.

I can do a walking marathon tomorrow

and we just monitor like crazy.


Yeah, thank you for that -

my brisk walk is no different to...

I know, this is the weird thing.

- OK, talk to you later.
- ALL:
- Bye.

It might only be to talk briskly,

but the great news is that tomorrow, Eddie is back on track.

I'm not doing this cos I'm a running nut,

I'm doing this because it's positive and...

I think about last time and...

I don't like doing that.

It is the morning of the sixth day.

The sixth day, fifth marathon.

And I will still have 22 marathons to go

and I need 21 days to do it in.

Eddie's a day behind his marathon schedule,

but he's determined to hit the road.

Dawn, dawn over Africa.

Look at the sun, look at it! That's going to be burning into me.

With Gary away, Tony has done the physical tests.

Now it's up to Eddie to mentally power through.

- Marching.

We, as a team, will now monitor him today

and we're just going to see how he handles the heat.

Four and a half hours and, uh...

Yeah, suddenly a wave of exhaustion. At least it's not nausea.

He's going up, 36.7.

It's not into the danger zone just yet.

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

It's one o'clock - about quarter past one.

Two thirds of the way through today's marathon,

as well as tiredness and heat,

Eddie's lower back is killing him.

Physio Tim is worried that Eddie is ignoring his body's warning signs.

Keeps clutching at his side -

we're seeing the same thing

that we've seen for the last four marathons,

then this bit today, and he can't cope with the heat,

he gets slightly delirious, a bit nauseous.

There's something wrong with his right kidney

and I don't know what it is,

but I think that's what's giving him the pain,

I think that's what's altering his blood levels.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't want to take the risk.

I just need someone to tell me

that that kidney on your right side is absolutely fine.

Right-sided back pain, the inability to be able to cope with the heat.

- The bad back we're saying is the kidney?
- I think so -

and I think it's all referred from the kidney.

I think it's when your kidney is struggling to function.

The team has decided that Eddie

needs to be checked out in a hospital

before he runs or walks another step.

- I need to be checked out before I finish?
- Yep.
- Yep.

- Like, now, because it's really, really hot.
- It's too hot.

- It's still boiling hot.
- I can't afford to take this risk, Eddie.

This is your life we're talking about.

I know we want to raise money,

I know we want to succeed doing the 27,

but there's no point in me putting you at risk.

It's not right, mate.

You shouldn't be behaving like that in this heat.

This isn't out-of-control heat.

Needing a second opinion, the team phone Dr Gary.

Eddie and Tim are here.

I don't know if you agree, Gary - there are too many variables,

too many things that are a bit weird and I just can't take the risk.

- OK, let's go.
- Lovely.

- Lovely.
- OK.
- Thanks, Gary, we'll be in touch later.

Already a day behind his schedule,

Eddie is heading to another hospital

for kidney scans that could call the whole thing off.

The blood test results have been put on urgent

and if they find them clear,

then we'll be able to get back onto the road again.

As well as the blood and kidney tests,

Eddie is on a liquid drip for rehydration.

Hours later, he's discharged.

Something... It's good news.

The doctor, he said it's not kidney, and he was banging around my kidney

and he said, "That's where all your stuff was?"

and he's a nephrologist, which means he's Captain Kidney.

It turns out the problem wasn't his kidneys. It was chronic dehydration.

The rollercoaster continues.

Day 2, heatstroke, then go out, then it's on, it's off,

day after day, now we're back, I'm marching, in the next day,

we're out, it's now...


Today, after the hospital rehydration,

Eddie's starting off by refreshing his mental fluids.

No longer pounding the roads, he's running the labyrinth

at Hogsback, an elaborate maze that twists and turns for 1.4km.

It's here that people come to find the answers to life's questions,

like, "Will Eddie make the finish line?"

I don't know if I have my answer,

but I'm taking it all one day at a time.

We'd like dogs to help.

If they could get together

all the dog food... Oh, forget it, then.

Two dogs there. Hello, dogs. Can you give to Sport Relief?

No, they're saying no. That's dogs, but humans can give.

Good morning.

Yesterday's hospital visit lost Eddie another third of a marathon,

but today has to be a change of pace.

I'm taking everything very easy,

like, cos of everything, I'm just being a little bit precious.

There's monkeys over here.

I've got monkeys here, monkeys in all...

There's a monkey just there, if you can see him.

There's one up there walking along.

I feel great.

Can we just stay here and run round and round and round?

The deal with spiders is they kill flies.

Have you noticed how many flies there are?

They're not really working hard enough.

Spiders just sit there going, "I hope a fly will come along."

No. All the flies are elsewhere.

If God was there going, "Yeah, I want creepy-crawlies.

"Things that hang in webs and they go, 'La-la-la,'

"and they bite you and your head falls off."

This is Hogsback and there's this beautiful countryside behind.

Madonna was here with her kid. One of her kids.

- How do you know that?
- It says that, "Madonna & Child Falls."

Eddie's still a marathon and a third behind schedule.

To even begin to get himself back on track,

he wants to run an additional 14km today.

- So I get up...

with an air of despondency

having had about four or five hours' sleep.

This is very, very tough.

I'd like to pick up this extra third of a marathon.

Adding on an extra third of a marathon.

If we get this going, then maybe I've got six hours' running,

so I've got to get done and dusted

and try and finish off all these marathons.

I'm starting now.

Anyone come with me if they're coming with me. If not, I'm going.

Nine minutes late.

OK, I'm off.

To run an extra third of a marathon today,

Eddie's really got to pick up the pace.

He's raced off fast, but it's taking its toll.

I'm just trying to get this done.

I haven't got energy for anything.

My leg hurts, we've dropped time.

I'm not in a good place.

Sarah, Yvonne, get out and get your spray guns going,

just get 'em going.

Spray me, spray me like crazy.

We've lost a lot of time now.

With the sun climbing

and Eddie's body temperature going through the roof,

the team are on standby to help him keep cool and moving.

OK, that's the virtual runner. As that ticks down,

if that gets to nought, then I'm behind time.

I'm trying...trying to get the whole thing done.

When he started, he started so fast, you know,

which was surprising to me,

and I can understand why -

the mind-set of wanting to catch up, he's behind and whatnot.

That's very admirable. His dedication is overwhelming.

Big respect to the man, big respect.

I say, if many people could be a bit more dedicated

to life like that, this world would be a fantastic place.

- Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

Thank you.

Thank you.

It's noon, and to everyone's amazement,

Eddie has already battled through a full marathon to add to his total.

I've done six and two-thirds marathons, that's what I've done

and I'll finish off the third, then I'll have done seven.

Psychologically, I'm good.

I am tired, I did push it, but we got there.

Today, the running gods delivered me a marathon runner.

But marathon runner Eddie isn't stopping now.

There's another third of a marathon to go today,

but he's got some special inspiration.

27 days is nothing compared to the 27 years

that Nelson Mandela was in prison. It's just so nothing.

10, 15, probably 20 years where he thought, "Am I getting out?"

He could have felt, "This is just going to go on forever."

Forever and ever and ever.


This is the poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.

It's a poem that meant a lot to Nelson Mandela,

particularly when he was in prison for 27 years.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds me and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

I ran a whole marathon this morning

I am now trying to run, walk, crawl

another third of a marathon.

We've got the wind in my face, the sun's going down.

If you ever do running, this is kind of beautiful.

Remember, I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

We are all masters of our fate and captains of our soul.

And, if we choose it, we can do good and positive things.

Eddie's determined to get the Sport Relief message

out to as many people as possible.

But running 27 marathons in 27 days

means there's no time to stop and chat,

so he's updating the British public whilst he's on the move.

For the last week, comedian Eddie Izzard has been running

across South Africa and he joins us live now.

How are you? You are amazing! How are you doing?

I'm not brilliant, to be honest, Lorraine.

It is beautiful, but it's hotter...

it is just way hotter than what you expect in the UK.

What is your message to people

to get off our backsides

and try and do something as inspiring

as the thing that you're doing?

It's a very good question, Piers.

OK, I'm a determined twit and I just want to keep going.

If you do marathons a lot,

you have to listen to the body, to the calfs talking to me -

the underneath of the right foot is talking to me a bit.

But not too bad.

What do we do today? We run a marathon.

Tim the physio has already put his special mixture of cream

into my legs so that they feel good.

Capsicum cream is basically chilli powder,

so I put the capsicum on, and it just redirects the brain's focus.

He's a brave man, he's put capsicum cream very close to where his...

Very close to my gloobles.

Very close to my ningles, my borombers, my nether regions.

At the end of every long run, the feet,

they do get squashed and your parexeous dingle and your dangles

and your nuble rubens, they don't...it doesn't happen so well,

so if you put it in water, then it freezes the sub-cortex

strata, cumulonimbus part of your foot

and it rearranges all the...

..the doobly-doos to get them all straight and happy and laughing.

Anyway, that's why we do the feet.

Charlie trying to get across the road

- without...

..getting squished by traffic, so we're going to help him.

The sun's getting up, my legs are burning,

but I'm just going to make sure that no traffic gets him.

He's going for it.

Go on, mate, you're almost there.

Go for it, mate.

With temperatures soaring to over 30 degrees centigrade,

Eddie's finally acclimatised.

He's becoming a nonstop running machine.

Even though it's over 31 now,

in the early days, the first week running,

this, I'd have just gone, I'd be gone by now.

But I just trot along, I trot.

We're nearly there.


I've always said when you finish ten marathons,

you become an ultramarathon runner, but, yeah, it's good -

ten marathons

in 11 days.

Only got 17 more to do.

I'm running in the Mountain Zebra National Park,

which is interesting

and there's going to be a guy with a shotgun, I think, next to me.

- A ranger, yeah.
- A ranger's going to be next to me.

Going, "Tee-aw!"

If he has to use it once, it'll be weird. "Pow!"

"What the hell was that?"

But snakes, they can bite you, and they have no hospital

and no antivenom in the area.

There's tens of thousands of snakes coming down,

they're all trying to get down and get their breakfast.

This gun is for protecting our lives

and even the life of this man

already running, yeah?

Yeah, the lions, they are here now, in this area.

Lions have been spotted in the area.

More news later at News At Ten.

Apparently, there are 47 lions over there.

All with guns.


Crazy lightning. Tell me if you saw that lightning, guys.

The electrical storm rains down on Eddie.

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, he has an unexpected encounter...

- Thank you very much.
- ..with a super-fan.

- Alan Denyer.
- Alan Denyer. Hello, Alan.

Alan's come 600km.

With a letter.

He's written me a letter.

Thank you very much.

It's a huge honour.

Sir, it's an absolute honour.

All the best.

- Thank you, thank you so much.
- Good luck!
- Not at all, thank you.


It's dawn, it's this big, wide country area.

This kind of looks amazing.

- It's marathon 12

I'm tired, I've got...

If there's zero energy,

I'm just about at that level above zero energy.

Yeah, I can't talk too much now. I've got to do this.

Eddie's running through the Western Cape.

It's one of the wealthier provinces of South Africa...

- He's a leader.
- BOY:
- Yes.

Leader of the pack.


..but the region still has its share of problems.

Thousands of young people are unemployed, unsupported

and neglected.

Since 1990, Sport Relief has supported over 200 projects

here in South Africa,

helping almost three million people living in difficult circumstances.

- Hi!

Eddie's come to a place called Pop

that helps 5,000 children and young people living in poverty.

What does P-O-P stand for?

Path Out Of Poverty?

There's a saying on the back of some of the T-shirts,

it's a Mandela quote, yeah?

"There's no easy walk to freedom,"

cos he talked about the long walk to freedom.




Very nice to meet you.

Ah, books - I remember school. Oh!

Where do you think you would be if the centre didn't exist?

It's great seeing the project.

I think the people who are donating need to see the project.

You need to see what's happening.

It's very good to come and see

exactly where people's money is going.

People in the UK are very generous.

I'm running for Nelson Mandela, I'm running 27 marathons in 27 days.

'Ingrid, she's come from a very impoverished background

'and she's worked her way up,

'running these centres like this and they're well maintained,

'you can just feel that from inside there.

'The kids come calm in a relaxed atmosphere,

'they can play - it's what should be happening.'

I want to keep up my speed, 7.5kph.

- Cheers, everyone. Clink, clink, clink, clink.
- Whoo!

This is halfway, this is 13 and a half marathons and here we go.

So mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

That is what I have to now train to do -

to be a mad dog.

Sunrise in Africa.

The colours are pretty good.

- Hello! Hello!
- Hello!


There you go, 4:50am.

Now, sunrise is, I think, in about an hour's time,

so these cockerels, they haven't got a clue when it's sunrise or sunset.

The cockerel is crowing way too early.

Eddie has been powering through the marathons,

but he's still a whole marathon behind schedule.

And to make up for it, he's come up with a cunning plan.

He's going to run two marathons on his final day.

Eddie's never done a double marathon before

and today he's pushing himself extra-fast

to see if he has what it takes.

Two minutes to spare.

- Tim, my legs are on fire.

The back of my legs.

- Relax, relax!
- Fuck!




What happened there was you saw an exact example

of the brain letting go and suddenly giving him

all the information about what was going on.

Well, it's just like your feet are in two furnaces.

He's an enigma. I don't know how he does it, but he just did.

What he needs to do to get anywhere close

to being able to do what he needs to do on Sunday...

God, that's so hot.

Eddie's finally arrived in Cape Town,

his first big city, on the ocean and tucked under Table Mountain.

His next marathon takes him right through town.



But after a hard day's run,

there's no better way to unwind than by getting your nails done.

I use it as a badge of identity.

I am a transgender guy, I did come out 31 years ago,

but it was a very hard journey.

Very, very hard.

A lot of people said very nasty things to me,

fought me in the streets.

Fuck them.

Doesn't matter what sex or sexuality, how you self-identify,

or who you fancy, it matters not one whit.

What do you do in life?

What to you create? What do you add to the human existence?

That is what matters.

It is the morning of the 20th marathon. This is what I've been...

..looking forward to get to. I don't think...

I have this idea that I don't think anyone's really going to...

think this is possible or really pay attention or whatever

until I've done 20 marathons.

I kept waking up and thinking about the last day.

That was not very good.

I woke up about five times.

I have to do a double marathon on the last day...

..and it would be nice to be able to do it in 12 hours.

That's 7.5kph

for 12 hours.

Dr Gary has returned to South Africa

to make sure Eddie reaches the finish line in one piece.

- OK, I'm going.
- I'm absolutely certain he's going to do it.

The biggest muscle that man has got is in his head

and once that muscle starts pumping, nothing's going to stop him.

"Select distance - marathon - yes." I'm going, all right.

Bye-bye. Which way do I go?

Today's run is taking them around the Solms-Delta Vineyard

and Dr Gary has prescribed a very different kind of medicine -


A shiraz, I'm going to have a taste of a shiraz.

Eddie's taking the chance to swig a glass of the good stuff

every quarter of a marathon.

Well, we're only having a little tasting.

Psychologically, it's a great thing. We're using it as a pacing.

It's only a small glass of wine. I think it's OK.


For him, this is a great psychological boost.

He likes this and he comes in,

he has a bit of wine and he's enjoying it.

I am off, ladies and gentlemen.



Eddie starts day 24 with an early-morning ferry ride

from Cape Town.

He's heading to Robben Island,

where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

I've had this idea of running round Robben Island for six years now.

It's been a long time waiting to do this.

I'm doing a little amount of suffering

and these guys suffered in jail, day after day,

month after month, year after year,

with no change.

So it just brings attention to that, maybe.

Here goes 23rd, Robben Island.


The prison has been closed since the '90s,

but people still come here to remember the dark days of apartheid.

- Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

It's kind of magnificent when they all fly. This is their island now.

Just over 30 years ago, Mandela and other prisoners of apartheid

were marched out for hard labour every day.

Eddie's Robben Island marathon has brought him to the lime quarry

where Mandela slaved away for 13 years.

It was here that political prisoners excavated rocks used to build

the island's roads.

You had the leaders of the different political movements working here.


They never wanted a leader to influence the other prisoners,

so by keeping leaders together,

they thought they could control things better within the prison.

I don't think it worked.

The shovel, the pick axe, the hammer, the chisel,

the rudimentary hand tool was just a way of excavating lime,

but at the same time, this became a space where they would debate,

discuss, educate each other.

For me, the debates and discussions that have taken place in this quarry

is what we could record as our constitution today.

After each day of back-breaking labour,

Mandela was locked in a seven-by-nine-foot concrete cell.

Here's Mr Mandela's cell.

It's quite an eerie feeling if you look down this corridor.

Mandela's cell is normally kept locked,

but Eddie's being given special access.

- So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to give you the key.
- Wow.

For most of his 18 years, he slept on the floor.

Blankets. The bucket would have been the toilets.

I think Nelson Mandela already had

the power of forgiveness already in him.

I think a lot of people do.

But he learned stamina.

He developed stamina, strength, endurance.



..sharpened his wisdom.

He was constantly trying to work it out, 27 years.

And then he left prison without bitterness.

It's kind of amazing.

Would have thought revenge would be on his mind.

Eddie's back in Cape Town,

with volatile weather rolling in for Day 25.

The last three days, the last four marathons.

Mathematics is still not perfect.

It's Sport Relief day.

Lots of activities happening back in the UK

and we'll be the one weird outside broadcast

that'll be coming from across the globe.

I've just talked to BBC Breakfast, BBC Lunchtime, Mid-morning,

Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge, that'd be quite nice.

And BBC Three has been following Eddie all the way,

on the road with a mobile edit suite,

charting his progress, all the ups and downs,

with loads of updates every day.

Eddie takes his media duties in his stride,

before finishing today's leg,

which he's turned into a fun run marathon around Cape Town.


After the run, Eddie has got a special phone call,

all the way from space with astronaut Tim Peake.

Well, tomorrow, I do...

From 7am to about 1pm in Cape Town, I do a sort of recovery marathon,

my final recovery marathon and then I fly tomorrow, Saturday afternoon,

then Sunday do a double marathon up to the steps of the Union Buildings

in Pretoria where Mandela was made president.

Thanks very much.

It's the penultimate day.

Obviously anxious about tomorrow.

I've got a queasiness feel going on.

Which is not a nice feeling.

Understandably, he's getting a little bit nervous, a bit anxious.

We just had to give him some medication,

because he's getting a bit of acid in his stomach.

That's a consequence of the anxiety.

I've never felt sick in any of my...

Except it is your brain starting to prepare you for tomorrow.

70 marathons now and I've never felt sick, so it's a bit weird.

Obviously, he's desperate to do this

and he's absolutely determined to do it.

If he has to pull himself centimetre by centimetre

by his highly polished fingernails over that finish line,

he's going to do that.

But we need to make sure that whilst he's pulling every sinew,

that he is not putting himself at risk.

It's not about me being his friend, it's about me being his doctor

and I feel I'm in a place that if I sense something is going on,

I'm going to pull us.

I have no qualms about that.




- Well done.
- That was the last single marathon

that I have to do, let's look at it that way.

Hey, I don't have to do any single marathons any more.


now all I've got to do is one double marathon.

Eddie's got to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg,

ready for the final double marathon push, starting at 5am.

Uh, my stomach feels tight.

Some acid going on there.

I've just got to get this fucker done.

We're going to be going through the Cradle of Mankind,

which is going to be a challenge. It's sloping, rises up and down.

But he is going to work. He is going to work.

- What's your main anxiety or concern for today?
- Oh, you know what it is.

I mean, what is it?

What do you think it is?

- Everyone thought he was completely mad,

but here we are, we're on the cusp of a fantastic achievement,

so... Right, we're off.

Right, see you later.

With dawn breaking, Eddie has already done 10km -

and news comes in from London that he's now raised over £1 million,

but Eddie's mind is elsewhere.

- TIM:
- His head space isn't where it needs to be.

He's all stressed out and a bit worried

and thinks that he's not going to do it.

They're not good signs, not within the first 10km.

- I've just got so used to the flat

in the last two days.

These are not big hills, but...

If you go off too fast,

the brain detects that you're using energy too quickly,

so it shuts you down and that's what the wall is.

It's called the wall because people just stop in their tracks,

they can't go on any further.

Wahey! Cheers, mate.

Determined not to stop,

even breakfast is on the run.

- How are you feeling now, Eddie?
- Lot better.


Are we nearly there, Eddie?

We're there, we've done one.

I've done...

nearly 26 marathons. Very tired.

Going to keep going.

Done over 40km, but still got 42km.

With no time to stop,

Eddie pushes straight on into his second marathon of the day.

And it's just pain, pain, pain.

I've done another marathon this morning.

This is my second marathon..

in a day.

50km is all in...

and...I'm struggling.

I'm really struggling.

I've done about 50km. Got another 40km to go.

So we're ahead of schedule.

I don't know, looking right now, he's struggling,

but in these kind of runs, these kind of races,

you think you're just about to die,

then ten minutes later, you feel like, "Oh, I feel OK,"

so it's impossible to predict

whether he's going to make this or not.

Every part of Eddie's body is telling him to stop running.

And I'm tired.

I'm tired.

Eddie's body is now in unknown territory.

We're just at 70km, which is exactly where we need to be.

As Eddie nears the home stretch,

he has barely enough breath left in him

to keep the people back home updated on his progress.

We think we can cross live to South Africa to speak to Nick,

who's running with Eddie Izzard now.

Now, then, Nick, can you ask Eddie how he's feeling at this point?

How's it all going?

It's your 27th marathon, how are you feeling, how's it going?

- Well...not brilliantly...right now.

I've done...77km, that's about almost 50 miles today.

I've done one marathon this morning.

This is my second marathon.

And I'm trying to finish... I'm trying to finish.

It's just a little difficult.

The end is finally in sight.

Straight up that statue, go.

Across the grass, go.

The Union Buildings, where Nelson Mandela was sworn in

as the first freely elected president of South Africa.

But Eddie's not crossed the finish line yet.


- Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!


Eddie Izzard - actor, comedian and, now, running legend.

It's been the hardest thing I've ever done.

I'm very tired.



He has run 27 marathons, 707 miles,

in just 27 days

in honour of his hero, Nelson Mandela.

27 years.



that, I did that for Nelson Mandela.

He said, "Don't judge me by my successes,

"judge me by the number of times I failed and got back up again."

So I failed four years ago and got back up again.

So thank you for everyone who's, uh...uh, donated.

Uh, this was tough.

So...don't do this at home.

But what you can do at home is show Eddie your support

by donating to Sport Relief.

So far, Eddie's amazing efforts have raised over £1.7 million,

but it isn't too late to join in.

MUSIC: Runnin' (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy ft. Beyonce

# Runnin', runnin', runnin', runnin'

# Runnin', runnin', runnin'

# Ain't runnin' from myself no more

# Together we will win it all

# I ain't runnin', runnin' runnin', runnin'

# Runnin', runnin', runnin'

# Ain't runnin' from myself no more

# I'm ready to face it all... #