Hardest Geezer: British man Russ Cook completes run across Africa

Home » Hardest Geezer: British man Russ Cook completes run across Africa

Almost one year after he started, traversing deserts, mountains and rainforest across 16 countries, Russ Cook – more widely known as the Hardest Geezer – has completed his challenge to run the entire length of Africa.

The task of covering the distance, equating to more than 385 marathons, was initially planned to end by Christmas.

Instead the 16,300km journey – more than 10,000 miles – has taken 352 days and forced the red-headed 27-year-old from Worthing to overcome numerous dramatic twists, life-threatening situations and unforgiving conditions on his route north from South Africa to Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast.

Cook and his team were robbed at gunpoint, faced frustrating border delays and received police escorts along the way. He has struggled on through illness, injury and unforgiving terrain.

But, on Sunday, joined for his final marathon by people he has inspired and celebrated on social media where his achievement has been documented, Cook and his team’s epic adventure came to an end.

He claims to be the first person to have ever run the full length of the continent and has so far raised more than £650,000 for his chosen charities in completing the remarkable endurance feat – well over halfway to the £1m target he set.

This is the story of his past year.

Day one: The start of Project Africa

On 22 April 2023, Cook took the first steps of his monumental challenge – one he spent years planning, preparing and training for.

On day one he ticked off 50.6km – more than 30 miles – after setting off from the coastal South African village of L’Agulhas, which marks Africa’s most southern tip.

From there he would follow Africa’s west coast through Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania and Algeria.

Day 64: Robbed at gunpoint

As prepared as he could be for the journey ahead, there were certain moments over the past year which Cook could not have foreseen. Two months in, he and his team were robbed at gunpoint with passports, money, phones and equipment stolen.

Following the incident, in which nobody was hurt, the team received a police escort for the rest of their time through Angola.

Later in the mission, Cook would find himself separated from his team amid impassable roads and was again fortunate to have a lucky escape from a group armed with machetes demanding money.

Day 167: Running on through food poisoning

Amid the physical and mental toll of running an ultramarathon each day, on multiple occasions Cook also had to contend with sickness and injury.

Threatened by a mystery illness during the early stages of the challenge, the Briton also struggled on through food poisoning on more than one occasion – including over several days in Cameroon.

Flu then struck as he made his way from Nigeria into Benin with 200 days behind him, the usually positive Cook admitting at the time: “Truth be told I am a shell of a man at the moment.”

Day 205: Back injury threatens mission

While Cook had pushed on through earlier injuries, including a nasty-looking foot issue, a back problem forced him to take 48 hours rest.

The pain was severe enough that the self-styled ‘Hardest Geezer’ went for scans which to his relief showed no bone damage, and with that reassurance he continued on.

The physical damage sustained on a daily basis is difficult to imagine. By day 266, as he made his way through mountainous Guinea, he explained feeling as though “someone has swapped my hip flexors for cheese strings”.

Day 278: A call for help

Visa issues were never far away for Cook and his team but by far the biggest border threat the project faced came as they attempted to move from Mauritania to Algeria after 12,000km.

Unable to get visas for Algeria, he called on the power of social media to offer help. It worked. British MPs responded to offer support as his message was shared and it was not long before they were granted.

Among many positive experiences throughout Africa, it was in Mauritania that Cook said he had never been stopped by so many people offering supplies and help while he was out on the road. And with the visas confirmed, the finish line was within sight.

Day 304: Sandstorms and snowstorms in the desert

As he moved beyond 300 days in Africa, Cook ran out of road and entered the Sahara with his body “wrecked” and in “a constant state of pain”.

In addition to stifling sandstorms he was also greeted by violent snowstorms in the deserts of Algeria from which he was forced to shelter, while he was also briefly separated from the rest of his team after the van broke down.

But, wearing swimming goggles to protect his eyes and a folded T-shirt to cover his mouth, he was able to press on to the finish line.

Day 352: The finish line

Cook had long been dreaming of being on a beach in Tunisia with a strawberry daiquiri.

And, on Sunday, that became a reality as he completed his journey to Tunisia’s northern point at Ras ben Sakka.

Admitting he had shed a few tears at the start of the final day, he took a moment to stare at the horizon with his hands on his head.

He was joined for his closing 44km by many who have been captivated by his journey over the past 12 months, before he was at last reunited with family, friends and his partner as he reached the finish, the prospect of which he said had felt for so long like “some mystical event”.

Recent Comments

No comments to show.

Gambling News

100% match bonus based on first deposit of £/$/€20+. Additional bonuses.

T&Cs Apply

New players only. Welcome Bonus - 100% bonus on your first deposit up to €/$/£200 Unless otherwise stated. This bonus only applies for deposits of €/$/£10 or higher! All you need to do is just deposit the money in your website.com account and you will receive this bonus instantly!

*New users only

casinosingaporesite.com is an independent source of information about online casinos and online casino games, not controlled by any gambling operator. All our reviews and guides are created honestly, according to the best knowledge and judgement of the members of our independent expert team; however, they are intended for informative purposes only and should not be construed as, nor relied upon as, legal advice. You should always make sure that you meet all regulatory requirements before playing in any selected casino. Copyright ©2023