A PHYSIOTHERAPIST from Westbourne has been helping stand-up legend Eddie Izzard with her most demanding challenge to date – running 32 marathons in 31 days.

Not only did Eddie have to complete a marathon a day, as well as a double marathon on her final day, but she also performed a stand-up gig after every run, as part of her ‘Make Humanity Great Again’ campaign.

Physiotherapist Tim Cruse-Drew, who practices out of Dorset Private Physiotherapy in Poole Road, has been working with Eddie since 2012 when the comic was looking to run 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa for Sport Relief.

He said: “Essentially, she got referred to me after the first attempt off that challenge as she had suffered a few injuries and was forced to cut it short.

“We started working together and I put together a fitness programme for her and was running a few of the practice marathons with her and got her to a stage where she was able to redo the South Africa challenge in 2016.

“When we came back, Eddie was already thinking about the next challenge she wanted to do so she came up with the idea of running around all of the capital cities in Europe.”

Last February, Eddie ran 29 marathons in 29 days, one in each European capital, plus a final extra one back in London, which raised £140,000.

For the last two runs for that challenge in Paris and London, she did gigs in the evening, which sparked the idea to run 32 marathons in 31 days with an hour’s gig after every run.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that Eddie’s challenge had to be changed.

The challenge was adjusted so that the comic would run on a treadmill in a Covid-secure room at the Riverside Centre in London.

Tim added: “I was with her and helping her through her exercise routine and then Covid threw everything up in the air. We had to scrap the idea of going around the European cities and had to move all of it online. This meant that Eddie had to change from running on tarmac to running on a treadmill which is completely different.

“Unfortunately, I could not be part of Eddie’s support bubble due to the Covid restrictions, so I was having to provide most of my support virtually either over the phone or on FaceTime.”

As well as being Eddie’s physio, Tim took on the job of becoming a makeshift chat show host, sourcing and introducing celebrities and close acquaintances who would speak to the comedian during his marathon attempts.

Over 300 guests joined Eddie during her marathons, including Joanna Lumley, Sir Michael Palin, Brian Cox and George Clooney who was with her as she crossed the finish line and completed her challenge.

When asked about how she was able to complete these challenges, Tim said it was down to the speed in which the comedian takes them on.

“A lot of people ask about how does Eddie do it and the answer is that it is because she does them slowly,” Tim said. “If Eddie was running them in four hours, it would be totally different. She understands her limitations, but she also has the grit and determination to do these challenges, especially this one on a treadmill which is so dull and monotonous.

“She is a remarkable individual and it has been a lot of fun working with Eddie over the years and for this monumental challenge.”

So far, Eddie has raised £300,000 which will be distributed between Fareshare, Walking With the Wounded, Care International, United to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases and Covenant House New York City.

To donate, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/eddie