Talbot Heath school were delighted to welcome back former pupil Sarah Johnson to talk about her recent experiences in South Africa working as part of the support team for Eddie Izzard during his epic 27 marathons in 27 days. Miss Johnson, who left Talbot Heath in 2001, is the tour manager for Eddie Izzard, and spoke about her wide-ranging and exciting work organising the recent marathons, that reflected the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison, and ultimately raised over £2.2 million for Sport Relief. Her varied responsibilities included the health and safety of Eddie and the team, organising accommodation and managing the media attention. She spoke of many highlights throughout the trip which included a potentially dangerous route through a safari park with an armed ranger; an emotional visit to Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years; and a surprise phone call from Tim Peake from the ISS one evening during dinner!
Following the talk was a Q and A session with the pupils whose questions ranged from the South African climate and diet, to Eddie’s running times and choice of nail polish. Sarah also presented a signed section of the finishing line ribbon, used throughout the marathons, as a thank you to the school for their fundraising and support.
Deputy Head, Matthew Pitcher, is about to run in the London Marathon on the 24th of this month (for the charity Scope); he said Sarah’s talk was fascinating, adding, ‘Eddie is an inspiration to anyone who runs - be it the local parkrun or ultra-marathons. As someone who has run a marathon I know the pain he must have felt after day one - the mind boggles how he ran 27 of them!"
Sincere thanks go to Sarah for taking time out of her very busy schedule to visit her former school and inspire the girls once again. And good luck goes to Mr Pitcher for the London Marathon on Sunday.