Home Australia ‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook becomes first person to run across Africa

‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook becomes first person to run across Africa

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A group of runners with a red-haired man in a blue t-shirt leading the way.

An English extreme marathon runner nicknamed the “Hardest Geezer” has completed his race across Africa.

Russ Cook ended his trip in Tunisia after traveling through 16 countries on a 352-day odyssey that included being robbed at gunpoint and suffering from food poisoning.

Cook began his adventure last April at the southernmost point of Africa, the South African town of L’Agulhas, and advanced along the western coast of the continent, traveling a total of more than 16,000 kilometers.

“The first person to tour all of Africa. Mission accomplished,” Cook published in X.

Many fans joined Russ Cook on the final leg of his journey. (Reuters: Zoubeir Souissi)

The 27-year-old passed through Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania and Algeria, before arriving in Ras Angela on Sunday . local time in the afternoon.

He hoped to complete the journey in 240 days, running the equivalent of more than a marathon each day.

He and his team were robbed of money, passports and equipment in a gunpoint robbery in Angola.

He was temporarily stopped due to back pain in Nigeria. And he was almost stopped dead by the lack of a visa to enter Algeria, before diplomatic intervention by the Algerian embassy in Britain managed to obtain the required documents.

The endurance athlete has also raised more than half a million pounds for charity along the way.

A red-haired man cheering surrounded by a crowd.

Briton Russ Cook has become the first person to run across Africa. (Reuters: Zoubeir Souissi)

“The main goal is to challenge yourself and do something amazing, which is what ‘Hardest Geezer’ is all about,” Simon Klima of charity platform Givestar told Reuters.

“At the same time, raising a lot of money for some really important causes, that’s happening on the Givestar platform, so we’re very privileged to have that happen there.

“Almost £600,000 ($1,151,000) has been raised so far for two charities, Sandblast and Running.”

Klima said he hoped the fundraising would reach its £1m target.

“It’s quite difficult to put into words, 352 days on the road, a long time without seeing my family, my girlfriend,” Cook told Sky News as he began his run on Sunday.

“My body hurts a lot. But one more day, I’m not going to complain.”

A red-haired man hugging a person, surrounded by a crowd of photographers.

Russ Cook told reporters the day before finishing the race that he missed his family and his girlfriend. (Reuters: Zoubeir Souissi)

Cook was accompanied by supporters on the final leg of his journey, many of whom had flown specially to be there.

“I saw the post on Instagram where he was asking everyone out. I was laying on my couch, it was Sunday afternoon, and I saw him and he said everyone can come,” Warren Blake from the United States told Reuters.

“I just couldn’t miss a crazy historic opportunity like this.”

Cook, dressed in an England football shirt, arrived at the finish line to chants of “old man, old man.”

He finished telling reporters: “I’m pretty tired.”

Cook said he planned to celebrate with a party, where the British band Soft Play was scheduled to perform.

“Tonight we’re going to have strawberry daiquiris on the beach,” he said.

“It’s going to be unreal.”


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