'Hardest Geezer' Russ Cook completes run across the length of Africa after 352 days and 16,000km

7 April 2024, 17:12 | Updated: 8 April 2024, 10:13

A man dubbed the 'Hardest Geezer' has completed his mammoth challenge to run the entire length of Africa after 352 days and 16,000km travelled.
A man dubbed the 'Hardest Geezer' has completed his mammoth challenge to run the entire length of Africa after 352 days and 16,000km travelled. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

A man dubbed the 'Hardest Geezer' has completed his mammoth challenge to run the entire length of Africa after 352 days and 16,000km travelled.

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Russ Cook, from Worthing, West Sussex, set off for the final leg of his feat at around 10am on Sunday from a petrol garage in Ghezala, a town in north-west Tunisia, and reached the finish line at Tunisia's most northerly point in Ras Angela at around 4.40pm.

He is thought to be the first person to complete the epic endeavour.

After crossing the finish line, the 27-year-old was greeted with shouts and cheers from those who had flown out to meet him, with many chanting "Geezer".

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Mr Cook began the challenge on April 22, 2023 in South Africa's most southerly point, spending 352 days on the road where he has faced visa complications, health scares and an armed robbery in his bid to become the first person to run the full length of the continent.

Speaking to Sky News after setting off on the final leg of his journey, the 27-year-old endurance athlete said he was feeling "pretty sweet".

"One more day, one final push, let's get this thing done," he said.

Russ Cook runs with his supporters through the Tunisian town of Bizerte in Tunisia up to Ras Angela
Russ Cook runs with his supporters through the Tunisian town of Bizerte in Tunisia up to Ras Angela. Picture: Alamy

"I've had a few tears this morning.

"It's quite hard to put into words, 352 days on the road, long time without seeing family, my girlfriend, my body is in a lot of pain but one more day, I'm not about to complain."

Throughout the venture, called Project Africa, Mr Cook has raised more than £650,000 for two charities, the Running Charity and Sandblast.

For the final day of his challenge, Mr Cook invited his supporters to take on the last marathon with him, with many flying out to Tunisia to run alongside him.

"How can you be tired when there's this many people running with you?," he told Sky News.

"There's so much energy."

Mr Cook also announced he will be throwing a finish line party to celebrate his feat at a hotel in Bizerte, Tunisia.

The party is set to feature a performance by the British punk rock band Soft Play, formerly known as Slaves, comprising of Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, where he has been sharing regular updates on his quest, he said: "Can't quite believe it but we've managed to pull off Soft Play playing the finish line party in Tunisia.

Mr Cook, nicknamed Hardest Geezer, began running on 22 April 2023 in South Africa's most southerly point, aiming to run the full length of the continent.
Mr Cook, nicknamed Hardest Geezer, began running on 22 April 2023 in South Africa's most southerly point, aiming to run the full length of the continent. Picture: Alamy

"Get your daiquiris ready girls & boys this is gonna be mega."

Last Tuesday, Mr Cook said the challenge had been "the toughest in my life but an immense honour".

He wrote on X: "We have met incredible people in every single country we've been to that have welcomed us with love and kindness.

"The human spirit is a beautiful thing.

"Very grateful for these experiences and would definitely encourage anyone out there to go get after that adventure, whatever it looks like for you."

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