Russ Cook’s monumental journey across Africa: from Cape to Cairo

Russ Cook has gone beyond mental, alcoholism and addiction problems: with an indomitable spirit he has completed a total of 385 marathons running across Africa

Russ Cook, known as “The Hardest Geezer,” has completed a monumental athletic feat by traversing the entire African continent from its southernmost point to its northern tip. Starting from Cape Agulhas in South Africa, he ran for 352 consecutive days, covering an impressive distance of 10098 miles, equivalent to 385 marathons.

Cook’s journey was marked by both physical and bureaucratic challenges, yet he showcased extraordinary determination in overcoming them all. The 27-year-old from Worthing, West Sussex, embarked on his journey with an incredible inner strength, fueled by his personal history of battling mental health issues, alcoholism, and gambling addiction since his teens.

His run was not just a physical endeavor but also a journey of self-discovery and personal overcoming. During his route, Cook faced numerous obstacles, including an armed robbery in Angola that also affected his support team, leading to the loss of important documents and equipment.

Despite this, he continued to run, facing each day with determination and resilience. And his efforts were not in vain as he managed to raise 722611 US dollars (nearly €670,000) for charity.

Many difficulties overcome, both physical and mental

Cook’s run reached a pinnacle of endurance on the 241st day when he set his personal record by covering 68,43 miles in a single day in Ivory Coast. In Nigeria, he suffered from severe back pain and his urine was stained with blood, forcing him to stop.

After a few days of rest, however, his biggest challenge was bureaucratic, as he faced difficulties obtaining a visa to cross Algeria, threatening to derail his entire journey.

Fortunately, thanks to massive online support, including an appeal on X that reached 11 million people, and the support of figures like Elon Musk and British politicians, Cook was able to obtain the necessary visa to continue his journey.

In the Sahara Desert, he ran at night to avoid the scorching daytime heat, once again demonstrating his determination and ingenuity in facing environmental challenges. Russ Cook’s feat is not only a testament to his extraordinary physical endurance but also his determination to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

To complete his mission, he had to run between 19:00 and 05:00 to avoid the intense daytime heat, which reached 104° F degrees, but he never wavered. Compared by many to Forrest Gump, Cook is no stranger to feats of this kind, having previously crossed Asia to reach London in 2019 by running the equivalent of 71 marathons in 66 days. But now, he has truly outdone himself.

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