INTERNATIONALLY-famous comedian and actor Eddie Izzard ran through the borough yesterday on a 1,100-mile charity trek around Britain.
The first leg of the 47-year-old’s run for Sport Relief is taking him from London to Cardiff.
He reached Basingstoke on Tuesday, the second day of his Eddie Iz Running challenge, and yesterday set off from Laverstoke, heading for Stonehenge.
Mr Izzard – who recently appeared in the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie – was pleased with the support he had received from the people of north Hampshire on his run through the county.
He said: “It’s been great. They are wonderful. People have been honking their horns and waving.”
As The Gazette spoke with him, one man stopped his car and handed the comedian £50 for Sport Relief, a charity devoted to alleviating poverty abroad and in the UK.
Mr Izzard had not publicised his run in advance, but people have been able to follow his progress on Internet site Twitter, where he has posted updates and pictures of himself – including shots of him in Laverstoke and Whitchurch.
He told The Gazette: “My message is we are different, but we are the same. We are humanity.”
He added: “It’s catching people’s imagination, I hoped it might.”
After Stonehenge, he will head for Cardiff, where he will swap the England flag he is carrying for the Welsh standard, before heading to Belfast, Edinburgh and back to London.
The stand-up comedian said he chose to run for Sport Relief because he felt he could not contribute fully to Comic Relief as he did not have a character sketch to perform and because running was something humans had done for millennia before settling down to agriculture.
He trained for five weeks before setting off. He aims to run 30 miles a day, six days a week, to cover all the ground.
“Whether I can do it, I don’t know,” he said. “Can the body stand up to it? Hopefully it can.”
He is being followed on the run by an ice cream van, which is offering ice creams to people in the hope they will make a donation to the charity. He also has a sport therapist helping to minimise the impact of the run on his body.