How Eddie Izzard Became a Marathoner

April 06, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

American Becca Pizzi ran the
2016 World Marathon Challenge® (which she won!) it was a feat the 35-year-old runner said she’d
prepared her entire life for. In contrast, running a marathon is probably the last thing people expected from 54-year-old Englishman Eddie Izzard. A stand-up comedian, actor, and writer, Izzard is known more for his exhibitionism, drinking, and smoking than athletic prowess. Which is what makes his recent accomplishment so inspiring—running 27 marathons in 27 days. The number 27 represented each year former South African president Nelson Mandela spent in jail. Logging more than 700 miles (compared to Pizzi’s 183 miles) across South Africa, Izzard is now known as the
‘Marathon Man.’ So how is it that Izzard, who is twice the age of the average marathon runner, was able to successfully reach his goal? Turns out, his age actually helped. John Brewer, professor of applied sports science at St. Mary’s University in London told the, ‘As people get older, they tend to run longer distances.’ Their fast-twitch muscle fibers, used to run sprints or shorter distances, become less efficient and, with age and experience, they develop the mental aptitude to push themselves harder.’ Professor Bower went on to say that by running at a slower, steady pace (a 12 to 13-mile minute), Izzard was able to lessen the physical impact on his body and also keep his heart rate down (150 beats per minute), which decreased his chances of being overcome by exhaustion. He also wrapped his feet entirely in bandages to prevent blisters and cut his toenails to the quick to stop them rubbing against his toes inside his sneakers. In addition, Izzard spent every evening in an hour-long ice bath to help his muscles recover faster. Equally impressive? To date Izzard’s run has raised over 2 million pounds (almost $3 million) for
Sports Relief. And that's worth more than any medal. Tell us in the comments how you’ve pushed yourself to complete an athletic goal. Photo via:
Huffington Post