‘Hardest Geezer’ runs the entire length of Africa

By Rorisang Modiba

Russell Cook, known as the “Hardest Geezer,” completed a run across the entire length of Africa, finishing in Tunisia on Sunday after 352 days of running. 

The 27-year-old from Worthing, West Sussex, took on the challenge after suffering from personal battles, such as mental health issues, gambling, and alcohol addiction, raising over £700,000 (R14,630,000) for charity in the process. 

He ended his epic journey in Ras Angela, Tunisia, at around 6pm on Sunday. 

Cook’s adventure began in February 2023, with an original plan to run from Tunisia to South Africa in 240 days, attempting 360 marathons without breaks. 

However, visa complications for Algeria forced a change in plans, leading him to start in South Africa on 22 April.

In the first 50 days, Cook passed through South Africa and Namibia but faced a serious setback in Angola on 24 June. Cook and his team were robbed of their equipment and personal items. 

Despite this and other challenges, including health issues like finding blood and protein in his urine and suffering from backache, he carried on running. 

He had to adjust his running pace and take rest days, particularly after medical advice in Nigeria but continued his journey.

“I took a couple of days to get some scans. No bone damage so figured the only option left was to stop mincing about like a little weasel, get the strongest painkillers available and zombie-stomp the road again” Cook said, the BBC reported.

A simple document – an Algerian visa – became an obstacle on the 278th day of his journey. He said at the time: “If we don’t get the visas, then it’s game over.” 

Cook’s appeal video on X went viral with 11 million views, drawing attention from Elon Musk. This spotlight led to the Algerian embassy in the UK granting him an immediate courtesy visa.

With the finish line set for 7 April, he increased his running distance, often moving at night to avoid the extreme heat and sandstorms.

At the end of this remarkable journey, Cook finally indulged in his long-awaited treat, a strawberry daiquiri.

Pictured above: Russell Cook.

Image source: Hardest Geezer/X

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