Comedian Eddie Izzard has finished his challenge in South Africa, having run a total of 27 marathons in 27 days to raise money for Sport Relief and pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Running a total of 700 miles in temperatures of up to 42C, the 54-year-old has raised a total of more than £1.35 million for the charity appeal.

Once at the finish line, the South Yemen-born comedian said: “This has been a long project but with the help of ‘Team 27’ I did it. Thank you so much to everyone who donated.

“I always knew I'd be back. When I didn't make it in 2012 I knew I'd be back. I can't stand upright, I have a huge blister and I’m exhausted. But I'm delighted.”

Izzard attempted the same challenge back in 2012 but was forced to stop after the fourth marathon due to health problems.

Despite having to take an unscheduled rest day in hospital to test levels of heat exhaustion and dehydration, Izzard managed to complete this year's challenge in the planned time.

He made up for lost time by squeezing two marathons into his last day, completing them both in just 11 hours and 5 minutes.

His route traced the trajectory of Nelson Mandela’s life, starting on 23 February at Mbashe Bridge near the statesman’s birthplace and finishing on Sunday 20th March at the Union Building in Pretoria, where he provided his first speech as President.

The idea behind doing 27 marathons was intended to commemorate the 27 years Mandela endured in prison before becoming South Africa's first black president.

The Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man for Sport Relief documentary will air on Monday 28 March at 9.45pm on BBC2.

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