'Hardest Geezer' finishes final part of challenge to run length of Africa

Russ Cook, also known as the 'Hardest Geezer' has finished running the length of Africa after crossing 16 countries and covering more than 16,000km.

Russ Cook, known as the ‘Hardest Geezer’, has been running for more than 350 days and finished his mammoth marathon in Tunisia on Sunday

Russ Cook, also known as the “Hardest Geezer” has finished running the length of Africa after crossing 16 countries and covering more than 16,000km.

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”.

Mr Cook, from Worthing, West Sussex, set off at around 10am on Sunday from a petrol garage in Ghezala, a town in north-west Tunisia, where he headed towards the finish line located in Ras Angela, the country’s most northerly point.

He 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 ITV’s Good Morning Britain after completing the final leg of his journey, the endurance athlete said he was feeling “absolutely bamboozled”.

“It’s incredible, it’s not really sunk in yet but I am going to go and have a good part now,” he added.

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.

He 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.“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.”

He has also been raising money for two charities, The Running Charity and Sandblast. At the time of writing, he has raised £694,500.

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