Seaford student follows in the footsteps of comedian Eddie Izzard to raise money for charity

James Ravilious
James Ravilious

WITH the long summer holiday stretching ahead, a St Bede’s student decided to literally follow in the footsteps of his local hero Eddie Izzard.

James Ravilious, of Seaford, decided to speed walk four marathons, one on each day over a long weekend, like the back-to-back marathon challenge the comedian, who also went to St Bede’s, set himself last year.

The 17-year-old, who goes to the Upper Dicker site of the school, took on Worthing to Seaford on August 10, Hastings to Seaford on August 11, Polegate to Heathfield and returning on the Cuckoo Trail on August 12, and around the River Ouse on the last day.

Each day covered 27 miles and was sponsored in aid of a different charity: diabetes, Scope, Alzheimer’s and Cancer Research.

James said he was inspired by the fundraising culture at St Bede’s, his elder brother Rob having run, among others, the Marathon de Sables and the Rock and Ice Marathon, and Eddie Izzard’s challenge.

He chose charities that supported illnesses that have directly affected his family and friends - diabetes, stroke and cancer.

James said: “I found the challenges mind numbing, energy sapping, with low adrenaline, and very tough on the body due to the task of finishing four marathons in the four days.”

The worst of the days was Hastings to Seaford, over pebbly beaches and the gruelling Seven Sisters, as well as through the crowds gathered at Eastbourne seafront to watch Airbourne, although the planes flying overhead did provide some entertainment.

During training he hurt his ankle many times running the Seven Sisters and he was ‘elated’ to finish.

“Hearing car drivers press their horns in acknowledgement of the charity shirt I was wearing during each run made things worthwhile,” he said.

James, who is on track to raise £1,300, wanted to thank all those who supported or sponsored him, including his dad, Eric, and friends, family and teachers who joined him for parts of the challenge.

He was supported by his dad Eric and a couple of friends, family and teachers joined him.