Join 3,366 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Eddie Iz Running
September 15, 2009 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Eddie Izzard is one of The UK’s most beloved comedians. He is not, however known for his athletic prowess. But that's all about to change, because Eddie’s just completed a run - a very, very, VERY long run. 43 Marathons in 51 days for charity.

The secret does not lie in strict training. Where athletes devote a life to running and amateurs clear the diary for months before a race, Izzard admits to only five weeks of prep. He has run at least 27 miles a day, six days a week, over the past seven weeks, covering more than 1,110 miles of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
posted by ColdChef (94 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
But did he do it in heels?
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:42 PM on September 15, 2009 [18 favorites]


He must get up very early in the morning.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:44 PM on September 15, 2009 [20 favorites]


I ♥ Eddie Izzard!
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on September 15, 2009


Goddamn. Good on him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:49 PM on September 15, 2009


The relentless runners in life, the real Forrest Gumps, do exist. Take American He-man Dean Karnazes, a brawny type who brands himself Ultramarathon Man.

Somehow I suspect brawny, American He-man Dean Karnazes wouldn't so much care for the label "the real Forrest Gump".
posted by Riki tiki at 3:50 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. I loved him before, now I'm just in awe.
posted by tula at 3:53 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn. I've been thinking about doing my town's 1/2 marathon next year but wondered if I was too old and fat, what's my excuse for not doing it now?
posted by octothorpe at 3:54 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I feel very tired.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on September 15, 2009


Action transvestite indeed!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:56 PM on September 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


tl;dr(un)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:56 PM on September 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Have finished my 43rd and last marathon. That's to all who supported and donated and ran. Now I can sleep

Damn right you can, Eddie. The sleep of the just.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:57 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Took me a long time to convince myself this isn't a joke of some kind. Wow. Good job!
posted by nowonmai at 3:57 PM on September 15, 2009


"I just ran 1,100 miles."

"That's all very well, but...do you have a medal?"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:01 PM on September 15, 2009 [14 favorites]


It takes a lot to get me to want to go for a run. This makes me want to go for a run.
posted by The World Famous at 4:05 PM on September 15, 2009


My mental image is of him doing this covered in bees. (AHHH I'm covered in bees!)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:06 PM on September 15, 2009 [12 favorites]


Cake or Death.
posted by ColdChef at 4:07 PM on September 15, 2009


if only he had done it... COVERED IN BEES!!!!

still, thanks for being way fucking cool, Eddie!
posted by jammy at 4:10 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


He even stopped to help tiny kittens.
posted by ColdChef at 4:11 PM on September 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Eddie Izzard did a great job with all the running, I'm really happy for him and Imma let him finish. But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! Of all time.
posted by mullingitover at 4:12 PM on September 15, 2009 [29 favorites]


"That's all very well, but...do you have a medal?"

No, but he does have a flag. Really.

He says he started out running them in about 10 hours, and by the end he was doing them in about 5. You'd think you would get more worn out as you went along. But I guess he has always been into the running, jumping, climbing trees putting on makeup when you get there kinds of things.
posted by Who_Am_I at 4:13 PM on September 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


oh... yes, well, i guess... Solon and Thanks already made that joke... thank you, bye
posted by jammy at 4:13 PM on September 15, 2009


In case you're worried: his nipples are just fine, thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 4:17 PM on September 15, 2009


At first glance, this act seems good. Unfortunately, as he was running, he hid berries where no one has seen them, so the evil cancels the good and makes it neutral.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:18 PM on September 15, 2009


What an awesome thing to have done!
posted by gomichild at 4:21 PM on September 15, 2009


EDDIE PLEASE DO NOT KILL YOURSELF RUNNING MARATHONS WE NEED YOU FULL STOP
posted by mudpuppie at 4:21 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sorry for that earlier outburst--I've apologized for it in my blog.
posted by mullingitover at 4:21 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eddie, your participation in Mystery Men is now officially forgiven and forgotten.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:24 PM on September 15, 2009


Tank crossing?
posted by dirigibleman at 4:24 PM on September 15, 2009


He even stopped to help tiny kittens.

Mrs. Example's reaction: "He rescued a kitten? During a marathon? He's a superhero!"

I rescued a roadside kitten once, but my lazy ass drove her home in my car.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:26 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


But... he's British....

Shouldn't he scale it down a bit?
posted by Kimothy at 4:27 PM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


POWERED BY THE PENNE ARABIATA
posted by nudar at 4:28 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mr. Izzard:

Marry me.

That is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:29 PM on September 15, 2009


This is so cool.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:41 PM on September 15, 2009


Mr. Izzard:

Marry me.

That is all.


Sorry. Called dibs already.

DO NOT TELL ME I NEED TO PLANT A FLAG IN THAT MAN I WILL DO IT
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:43 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


If only The Riches were so long-running.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:45 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


What Izzard hasn't told the press or anyone, except his closest confidants, is that as runners collapse on the side of the road next to him, he stops to collect their essence for his ceremonial trophy, before continuing on The Road.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on September 15, 2009


Dammit Empress, all calling shotgun on my demands of marriage to Eddie Izzard!

A note aside: Whenever I play Katamari Damacy games I can almost hear him reading the lines of the King of All Cosmos. Think about it and you will too.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:47 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whenever I play Katamari Damacy games I can almost hear him reading the lines of the King of All Cosmos.

Huh. Ever since I found out that the King is partially based on Freddie Mercury, I tend to imagine him singing all the lines. King Action Transvestite is not that far off, really.

posted by elizardbits at 4:58 PM on September 15, 2009


as runners collapse on the side of the road next to him, he stops to collect their essence for his ceremonial trophy, before continuing on The Road.

There can be only one.
posted by The World Famous at 4:59 PM on September 15, 2009


Izard running a marathon is like you or I running two marathons, because he is tiny.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:06 PM on September 15, 2009


I stood next to Mr Izzard at an airport baggage carousel once.

True story.
posted by djgh at 5:14 PM on September 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Eddie, your participation in Mystery Men is now officially forgiven and forgotten.

I... I... I... don't know what to say to this...

*points while screeching*
posted by brundlefly at 5:29 PM on September 15, 2009


Countess Elena: "Whenever I play Katamari Damacy games I can almost hear him reading the lines of the King of All Cosmos."

He's the voice of my GPS. My children are growing up with a very odd perspective on the world.

Bear left!
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:36 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Who else ran a marathon a day? Terry Fox.
posted by ovvl at 5:36 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


*points while screeching*

Just wait until you see The Avengers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:38 PM on September 15, 2009


He tweeted some really gross pictures of pus-filled blistery toes. That's what made me finally donate, in hopes that he would NEVER DO THAT PICTURE POSTING THINGY OF GROSS DAMAGED TOES AGAIN THANK YOU!
posted by ersatzkat at 5:40 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eddie iz also bi-lingual. Try doing stand-up in Paris as an Englishman speaking French. That takes verve.
posted by ovvl at 5:44 PM on September 15, 2009


I wonder how many dogs tried to ask him if he was happy with his wash as he ran by.... something to think about.
posted by Severian at 5:53 PM on September 15, 2009


Eddie iz also bi-lingual.

Oh, come on, already! Pick a team!



(oh, and You Go, Eddie!)
posted by darkstar at 5:54 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Go, man, GO!

I'm going, I'm going!
posted by Jon-o at 5:57 PM on September 15, 2009


This is so terrific. I've been following this on and off all month. I'm going to go watch this video of his again.
posted by jessamyn at 6:14 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ah, come on. Mystery Men is fun, and it's not like he was horrible in it - it's not The Avengers.
posted by Artw at 6:19 PM on September 15, 2009


covering more than 1,110 miles of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

1,100 miles in this day and age? I don't even know where I live now!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:25 PM on September 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've been following his pain on twitter. He's done a good thing, and I'd like to sponsor him, even if it's after the fact. Does anyone know if you can donate to his charity online if you're in the US? It seems set up for UK only, but I only managed a quick glance the other day.
posted by picea at 6:47 PM on September 15, 2009


This is because he was a very driven boy scout, you know.

Driven everywhere, you know.
posted by thecaddy at 7:15 PM on September 15, 2009


I can't come up with a fitting quote because I'm still hyperventilating because I saw this and thought it was an obit thread. God, Eddie. WALK for a while, okay? Take a cab. Take a horse! Don't do this to me.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:21 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


...take an ark! You can hang your ears out the side.

There.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:21 PM on September 15, 2009


I hate that the cynic in me read THREE articles before I was convinced that it wasn't a joke or some sort of media hoax. I love Eddie, and with hindsight, this sort of conviction and pushing what people think he is is EXACTLY in character, but it just seemed too weird to be true at first.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:41 PM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fantastico.
posted by quin at 8:36 PM on September 15, 2009


What's especially amazing is that he ran all those marathons in JAM TROUSERS
posted by Sys Rq at 8:44 PM on September 15, 2009


I've been dealing with injuries ever since running my first marathon two years ago. And I trained for half a year for that fucking thing. I am in utter awe of this man. I loved him before, but I will fetch him his admittedly fabulous shoes on command after this.

Cake or Death.

I own that t-shirt, and my two-year-old son owns a shirt with bees on it that says COVERED IN BEES. I got them when we saw him live in Memphis awhile back.

We will be wearing them tomorrow.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:46 PM on September 15, 2009


Now he should put his feet in a FUCK OFF BLOCK OF CONCRETE!
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:06 PM on September 15, 2009


Video diary from BBC Three

Fantastic!
posted by ColdChef at 9:12 PM on September 15, 2009


Watching him run is physically painful to me. I can only imagine what it is to him. What the fuck made him think he could do this? And what the fuck allowed him to accomplish this?
posted by ColdChef at 9:13 PM on September 15, 2009


1100 miles? That's like Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Venezuela, Africa, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon…
posted by naoko at 9:14 PM on September 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Donation page is here. Works fine for residents of the US.
£20 is about 33 bucks. That's less than a measly dollar per FREAKING MARATHON.
posted by ColdChef at 9:37 PM on September 15, 2009


photo gallery of places and people along the way, including several photos of him standing by signs marking the town he was about to enter or exit.

DAMN he looks good. Well, he always looks good, but he looks GREAT.
posted by tzikeh at 9:44 PM on September 15, 2009


Wishing for that three-minute edit window:

picture of the kitten he rescued.
posted by tzikeh at 9:45 PM on September 15, 2009


According to an expert quoted in the BBC article:

"Our bodies are designed to run because that's genetically how we developed - to catch food and avoid being someone else's food. We have enough body fat to sustain about 40 marathons."

Wow. No wonder it's hard to lose weight by dropping in at the gym a few times a week -- a little bit of body fat goes a seriously long way.
posted by Forktine at 9:49 PM on September 15, 2009


Le singe est sur le branche!
posted by bjork24 at 9:54 PM on September 15, 2009


Watching him run is physically painful to me.

I can tell you that even for someone who's done a few serious distance runs, running just one marathon usually involves at some point running through pain and exhaustion the likes of which you've never felt before outside of 26.2. Most marathoners will tell you: in terms of effort, the real halfway point of a mara is somewhere around mile 20. That's how hard that second "half" is, and he's technically been running ultramarathons this whole time.

Six of them a week.

For several weeks.

That's how hardcore this is.

If you've never done anything remotely like this and are in awe of him, I have to tell you this: It sounds like asshole bragging, but it's really true, you have not the slightest idea how monumental this challenge was for him. You are gawking at numbers and have zero reference for the pain and exhaustion he's endured. I have only the barest fraction of that reference and am damn near willing to bottom for the man out of sheer respect. He gutted out something most of us flat-out couldn't.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:00 PM on September 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Kitty has a ginger fauxhawk. This whole business is increasingly preposterous.
posted by nowonmai at 10:02 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seconding what middleclasstool said. What makes this even more ridiculous is that he only prepared for a month to achieve what he did. He's apparently hurt an ankle, but aside from that seems to have escaped without any other injury which is even more impressive.

This is a truly remarkable feat from a most unexpected corner.
posted by ooga_booga at 10:45 PM on September 15, 2009


That's astonishing... and even more astonishing is that somehow I overlooked Eddie on twitter, what the hell? Fixed.

I kind of want him to stay in a hospital for the next six months, maybe the Mayo Clinic, where he can be watched by a team of doctors and fed liquids through a straw by a rotating cast of prostrate bi-annual half-marathon runners, all of whom are wearing t-shirts that say "I feel really bad for ever bragging."
posted by empyrean at 11:07 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sport relief has some form in turning comedians into endurance athletes. In 2006, David Walliams (of Little Britain fame) swam the channel in the pretty quick time of 10 hours and 34 minutes.

To put this in the context of the record time, it's like running the marathon in 3 hours.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:22 AM on September 16, 2009


empyrean: I kind of want him to stay in a hospital for the next six months"

Unacceptable, I have tickets to see him in December and expect plenty of running-agony based humour.
posted by minifigs at 12:44 AM on September 16, 2009


Before each race, his feet are bandaged. He has lost toenails, and one ankle ligament is seriously sore.
"My feet blistered up terribly, then started healing when I shoved them in surgical spirit," says Izzard. "Then they reblistered because you've got new skin coming through.
"Blisters upon blisters are not very nice. It's the pain. Like the pain from mouth ulcers, it's not a massive area but sharp and quite agonising."
Daily ice baths are a necessary evil, he says, "to stop your legs inflating to twice the size of an elephant".


That'd sorta be why athletes devote more time to running and preparing, to avoid, y'know, agonizing pain and serious damage. To run the distance as a race.

But I have to agree with middleclasstool, it's pretty astounding and a testament to how serious he was. Moreso that it's for charity.
I really like his comedy, but I have to admire him more for this work.
Guy could have just sat on his big mound o cash from the entertainment biz, but just said screw it, I'll lose a toenail if I have to.
...that said, it'd probably be a good idea for him to get some regular exercise to keep those benefits up.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:23 AM on September 16, 2009


Eddie Izzard is an African Kenyan!
posted by stavrogin at 1:50 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is a difference between health and fitness, which Eddie is currently demonstrating. He is fit, but not healthy.

Maximum respect for this incredible achievement. Talk about going the extra mile!
posted by asok at 2:54 AM on September 16, 2009


The one day I was late for work and took the motorway was the one day he was running down the A48 in the morning.

Gutted I missed him - but top work all the same!!!
posted by slixtream at 3:01 AM on September 16, 2009



Mr. Izzard:

Marry me.

That is all.

Sorry. Called dibs already.

DO NOT TELL ME I NEED TO PLANT A FLAG IN THAT MAN I WILL DO IT



Fuck. Now why the hell did I ever assume that I was the only one that had a hot crush on this man?
posted by newpotato at 3:02 AM on September 16, 2009


Love him. Amazing feat. Throwing all my money at the donation page.
posted by cavalier at 5:03 AM on September 16, 2009


What makes this even more ridiculous is that he only prepared for a month to achieve what he did. He's apparently hurt an ankle, but aside from that seems to have escaped without any other injury which is even more impressive.

Well, he prepared for five weeks or so, and then he started out by basically walking the "marathons." Ten hours to go 26 miles means you walked, slowly, and took plenty of breaks, or jogged very slowly and took much longer breaks. Any slightly fit person should be able to go out and amble all day on level ground -- that's not an amazing feat at all.

Adding in progressively longer sections of jogging allowed his body to strengthen slowly in response to the demands placed on it; by the end he was running the whole thing in about five hours, which is a decent clip. So honestly I'm not surprised that he wasn't injured -- we have this weird belief that walking or running long distances is a spectacular feat reserved for the biomechanically elite, but really it's just what our bodies were meant to do.

An article a while back about Laura Ingalls Wilder (the author of the Little House on the Prairie books) mentioned offhandedly that at one point her father walked three hundred miles to get to a farm labor job. That's what our bodies can do -- walk three hundred miles and then the next morning start in on some of the most backbreaking work imaginable.

I couldn't run a marathon tomorrow if you paid me a million dollars -- I'm not that fit. But I could walk one, no problem, and if I kept walking them and adding in jogging I'd be running them soon enough. I think we don't give our bodies nearly enough credit for the amazing things of which they are capable.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


An obvious attempt to be knighted.
posted by Non-Prophet at 6:20 AM on September 16, 2009


Glad to see I'm not the only one who assumed this was some kind of joke that was only funny if you're British...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:40 AM on September 16, 2009


Amazing feat.

Hey, you misspelled... oh, wait. Never mind.
posted by grubi at 7:41 AM on September 16, 2009


Eddie Izzard is an African Kenyan!

Heh. High praise indeed.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:50 AM on September 16, 2009


EXECUTIVE MARATHON TRANSVESTITE.

this is quite an impressive feat.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:11 AM on September 16, 2009


"Our bodies are designed to run because that's genetically how we developed - to catch food and avoid being someone else's food. We have enough body fat to sustain about 40 marathons."

But we still somehow have "pain" because we didn't stretch today... lol
posted by Zambrano at 8:35 AM on September 16, 2009


But we still somehow have "pain" because we didn't stretch today... lol

And let me guess -- his toenails falling off were also "all in his head"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The toenail thing's a swelling/shoe problem. When you run distance, your feet swell up, as much as a full size. If they're not constrained and are allowed to swell up, no problem. But we're not genetically developed to wear shoes all the time. When your feet swell up inside shoes, things get a little crampy and you can lose toenails. A lot of serious ultra runners actually have their nails surgically removed so they don't have to keep dealing with it.

And then some of them do this (NSF the squeamish, seriously, it's kind of gross)
posted by middleclasstool at 9:13 AM on September 16, 2009


I got up this morning and really, really, really didn't to go for my morning run, but then Eddie Izzard leapt into my brain and said "I ran forty bazillion miles, you sod, so you can do one piddling 6K this morning. Cake or death!"

So I did the morning run. And I didn't die, and I suspect I am slightly better for having done it.

Thanks, Eddie.
posted by Shepherd at 9:49 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marathon man Eddie Izzard hints at plans to stand as MP
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:37 PM on September 16, 2009


Donated!

I've been devoted to Eddie Izzard since Glorious. I didn't think there was anything he could do to be more fabulous. Nicely done, sir!
posted by Space Kitty at 9:20 PM on September 16, 2009


« Older Love Helvetica and modernist typographic design? S...  |  Brenda Kenneally... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments