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27th Jun 2023

Brit trying to be first person to run the length of Africa is robbed at gunpoint

Charlie Herbert

Hardest geezer Russ Cook trying to run the length of Africa

‘Infamously bad situation to find yourself on the end of’

A man looking to become the first person to run the length of Africa has revealed he was robbed at gunpoint during his journey.

Since April 22, Russell Cook has been running roughly 31 miles (50km) a day as he aims to run from the continent’s most southerly point all the way to its most northerly in Tunisia.

The challenge is expected to last eight months and will see the 26-year-old run roughly 360 marathons as he covers 9,320 miles (14,500km), to raise money for two charities: Water Aid and the Running Charity.

The two charities will split all proceeds raised 50/50.

Cook has been sharing his progress on social media – under the username @hardestgeezer – but as you’d expect for a challenge of this magnitude, there have been some obstacles along the way.

He recently revealed that a gang of men with guns had stopped him and his team, and threatened to kill them if they didn’t hand over all their belongings and kit.

Cook wrote: “Nothing like a gun being pointed at your face to let you know you’re alive. Lively one today.

“Ferocious 1’s & 2’s all morning. Met the boys for a lunch break. Chatting our usual dribble in the van like any other day when a couple lads popped open the side door and demanded everything we have.

“Desperate blokes with guns pointed. Infamously bad situation to find yourself on the end of. Proper spot of bother. Damage limitation. None of us got killed or injured.

“We didn’t let them march us out the van. But we did lose a lot of our gear. Couple cameras, 2 iphones, all of our cash, passports + few other bits. Rough gig.

“But we live to tell the tale. Could’ve been a lot worse. Local police doing as much as they can to help.

“The relentless nature of this mission is quite something. Problems from every angle. No respite. Till the bitter end.”

He later thanked followers for their “messages of support” and offers of help, adding: “We’re gonna pull a few strings and work on replacing some of our stolen items in the coming weeks. I’ll link our patreon page for anyone that wants to help us.”

Not one to let anything stop him, Cook added a remarkable 50km the following day, and 55.7km the day after that.

The Brit is roughly a quarter of the way through his mind-boggling challenge and is aiming to complete it by the end of the year.

So far, he has raised just under £35,000 of his £100,000 target.

If you want to donate to the Hardest Geezer’s efforts, you can find the link here.

Related links:

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