Marathon Man

28/02/2016 20:39 | Updated 28 February 2016


Week one - the challenge begins.

So the plan on paper is a simple one. Complete a marathon every day for 27 days across South Africa.

Unfortunately when you step off the paper and onto the concrete, gravel and rocky roads there's a little more to it.

Those with a good memory amongst you may recall that I tried something similar about four years ago and was forced to stop by a Doctor who told me that I'd die if I didn't.

Now I'm back and trying it again.

Why 27? Why South Africa? Why not just stay on the sofa all day eating Frosties? These are good, solid questions and ones I contemplate every morning when the alarm goes off at 3.30am and I attempt to get as many miles in as possible before my big orange foe, the Sun, makes its not inconsiderable presence felt.

I chose 27 marathons in 27 days as a small tribute to the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison and en route I will be passing through many of the places which figured in his extraordinary life.

While I'm undoubtedly in much better shape than I was last time, three days into this adventure there's no doubt in my mind that this is a much harder challenge than anything I've attempted before.

Perhaps it's the thought of running for a month without a single day off. At least on my marathons around the UK I was rewarded with a break once a week which gave me something to look forward to. Here I'm having to find other simple pleasures to motivate me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Yesterday it was milkshakes. I get rewarded with a few gulps of shake for every 10k I do. It worked well for a while until I almost vomited banana milkshake by the side of the road, when I had heat stroke in the 41 degree sun. Not loving the shakes during the run so much now!

The odd shout of "Molo" (hello in the Xhosa language) to a local citizen usually gets a 'Molo' and a cheery wave in my direction. This lifts the spirits and running 42km (26.2 miles) everyday can seem marginally less painful when a local child, passerby or goat nods in my direction.

But what I've been really hit by so far is the raw heat. As I said it hit 41 degrees yesterday - that's the hottest UK summer holiday you've ever had, multiplied by two with a few extra degrees thrown in for good measure. The sunstroke and the sun burn that I got the day before made life pretty miserable out there, but I finished and live to move on to the next one.

And now comes the part where I ask you lovely well-rested Huffington Post readers for some support. Since 1990 Comic Relief has been supporting communities across South Africa. You've been helping people affected by HIV, those living in urban slums, children and young people at risk and families affected by conflict. Your money really does make all the difference so if you do find your way to sponsoring me, thank you.

You can follow Eddie's journey on BBC3. Sponsor Eddie or sign up for your own Sport Relief challenge at