But is he Superman or The Flash?
This weekend Eddie Izzard proved he can do anything. Renaissance man and jack-of-all-trades, he is one of the world’s funniest comedians, performing some of the best stand-up routines you’ll ever watch. First known for his cross-dressing performances, he became a fixture in some of the best movies and film roles of this century, including key roles in superhero shows like Powers, Mystery Men, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. On television, he could be found in lead roles in Treasure Island, The Riches and Hannibal, in popular movies like Ocean’s Twelve and Shadow of the Vampire, and doing voice work on films like The Chronicles of Narnia and the animated movie Igor. He is one of those rare performers who can play it for laughs and also transfix viewers in the most serious drama. His work in Valkyrie should have netted him an Oscar. As for his status in the comedy elite, the members of Monty Python have referred to him as The Lost Python.
Izzard talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s among the highest echelon of British philanthropists, giving millions over the years to bringing about political change and social reform.
And he has now established he can run with the best of them.
Yesterday at age 54 Izzard finished running 27 marathons, more than 700 miles, in 27 days. His running achievement took him across South Africa for Sport Relief, a charity that benefits the poor and impoverished across the globe. The 27 days reflected the number of years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and Izzard finished his run beneath a statue of Mandela in the city of Pretoria. In doing so he raised nearly $2 million from donors. And it wasn’t easy. He was forced to skip one day for health reasons, but fulfilled his pledge by running two marathons on the 27th day. Wow. What did you do yesterday?
And don’t think Izzard was a natural athlete. Back in 2009 with only five weeks of training and no prior significant running experience, he set out–and completed–43 marathons in 51 days–totaling more than 1,100 miles. This is a man who could sit back and enjoy the fruits of his international successes in so many venues. But instead he runs for charity, and in doing so he also is shattering any pre-conceptions that others may have about the cross-dressing community. Izzard is both a real-life Superman and The Flash.
If you need some inspiration to accomplish that next challenge that awaits you, have a listen as Izzard recites the words of Madiba Nelson Mandela about his prison years during his run this month:
You can support Izzard’s work and Sport Relief at the Sport Relief website here.