Comedian John Bishop undergos gruelling 3 marathons in 3 day challenge
FUNNYMAN John Bishop today set off on the first of three marathons on consecutive days, hours after completing a gruelling cross-Channel row.
The Liverpudlian said his body had been taped up to ease crippling muscle aches as he set off in front of well-wishers from Dover, Kent, as part of a "week of hell".
He battled sleep deprivation and became "delirious" during the 26-mile row across the English Channel on just one hour's sleep, after earlier completing a 185-mile cycle ride.
With fellow rowers Davina McCall, Denise Lewis and Freddie Flintoff, he completed the row in seven hours, 45 minutes, almost two hours longer than expected, for the BT Sport Relief Challenge.
This morning Bishop, 45 said: "I have had a bit of sleep which has made a massive amount of difference.
"Yesterday was awful. I was lucky because of the people I was with. The other three were amazing. They just carried me through, but in the middle of the Channel I was just so tired.
"There were little moments of enjoyment. When we got out, the four of us said we will never ever do that with anyone else in our lives. It was a brilliant feeling."
Bishop, who was joined on the marathon route by Dermot O'Leary today, admitted he had underestimated how hard the challenges were going to be.
He said: "I'm looking forward to it because it's a nice part of the world to run anyway and if the people are on the streets they will just keep me motivated."
Bishop was already in extreme pain after more than 18 hours in the saddle for the bike leg of the journey. He was struggling to speak coherently during a live Radio 1 interview as he carved through the Channel yesterday.
Earlier, his trainer Professor Greg Whyte said the race was on to get him back on form to begin the first marathon. He said: "We need to try and negate the damage that the last two days have done.
"There's the muscle damage that both the ride and the row has caused, the big energy deficit that John has suffered and most importantly the massive sleep deprivation."
McCall - who has previously taken part in Sport Relief's cycle ride along the length of Britain - said: "I've absolutely no idea how John did it, to row the Channel after cycling almost 200 miles and only having one hour of sleep in between is astonishing."
Their efforts have already raised more than £400,000 for Sport Relief.
If he manages to keep going, Bishop is expected to make it to Trafalgar Square in London on Friday.
The aim is to raise enough money to vaccinate 250,000 children in Africa, as well as help with projects in the UK.
Bishop took an early tumble after setting off this morning, but quickly regained his stride.
Sport Relief's Twitter feed said he set off "at a fair old pace", but he then had a "a stumble and fall".
"He's fine but needs to go easy, those legs have been though a lot," Sport Relief said.
Despite the punishment of his journey so far, Bishop was managing a respectable pace, averaging 10-minute miles for the first hour of his run.