“It always seems impossible until it's done,” Nelson Mandela once said, and a British comedian has proved it true.
Comedian Eddie Izzard completed his 707-mile challenge Sunday in South Africa, which he took up as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
The 54-year-old actor ran a total of 27 marathons in 27 days, reaching his destination in Johannesburg, and raised a total of $1.35 million for Sports Relief.
After completing two marathons on Sunday in temperatures up to 107 degrees, the victor celebrated the completion of the challenge with champagne.
The 27 marathons were in honor of the 27 years Mandela spent in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president.
Throughout the challenge, Izzard battled dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunstroke. It became even worse when he had to take an unscheduled rest on the fifth day, meaning he had to finish two marathons on the last day.
The actor’s route tracked the story of Mandela’s life, starting on Feb. 23 at Mbashe Bridge near the politician’s birth town of Mvezo and ending at the statue of Madiba at Union Buildings where Mandela took his oath of presidency. During his journey, Izzard explored the history of South Africa and visited the organizations and communities supported by Comic Relief.
The comedian attempted the same feat in 2012, but was forced to stop due to health concerns after the fourth marathon.
“I always knew I'd be back. When I didn't make it in 2012, I knew I'd be back,” said Izzard, speaking outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria where Mandela gave his inaugural speech in 1994. “I can't stand upright, I have a huge blister and I'm exhausted. But I'm delighted.”
The Internet abounds with praise for the actor for his seemingly impossible task.
I really am awfully fond of #eddieizzard What an absolute man of steel! Incredible stamina and guts 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽— Viv W (@VivWatson1) March 20, 2016
Eddie Izzard's achievement is so amazing it's almost impossible for me to comprehend. All you can do is applaud... and donate! #eddieizzard— Gregor Urquhart (@gregorurq) March 20, 2016