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An athlete from Great Britain was the first in the world to run across Africa: what happened on the way

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Apr9,2024

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Russ Cook/Reuters

British Russ Cook, nicknamed Hardest Geezer, became the first athlete to run across Africa. Along the way, he was kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint.

The athlete crossed 16 countries, raising more than £600,000 for charity. The Guardian writes about it.

The marathon started on April 22, 2023 from the southernmost point of South Africa, Cape Agulhas. 50 days after the start of the race – June 24– Cook became the victim of an armed robbery in Angola. Thieves stole valuables belonging to Russ and his support team, including passports, visas, cash, phones and cameras. However, he continued to move along the route.

On the 102nd dayDuring the race, the man found himself separated from his support group in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to impassable roads on the planned route. The man tried to find his team in a nearby village, but the local chief demanded money from the runner. For some time Rass was detained by people armed with machetes.

He also had problems at the border with Algeria – they did not want to let him into the country. However, after the publication of a video appeal, which was seen by more than 11 million people, the Algerian embassy in the UK granted him a visa.

It is quite difficult to put into words: 352 days on the road, a long time without seeing your family yo, my girlfriend… My body is in pain, but one more day and I'm not going to complain, Cook told reporters on the penultimate day of the race.

In total, Russ ran 16,000 km in 352 days, crossing the borders of 16 countries. He crossed the finish line on April 7 in Tunisia. The man called his run “the most difficult challenge of his life”.

In every country we visited, we met incredible people who welcomed us with love and kindness. The human spirit is a beautiful thing, he said.

The purpose of the athlete's entire race was to raise funds for charity. 770,000 pounds (almost 38 million hryvnias) were donated to him on the Give Star platform.

He will donate the funds to the Running Charity, which runs running and mental health programs for homeless youth and Sandblast, an organization that raises awareness about the people of the Sahara.

An athlete from Great Britain became the first in the world to run across Africa: what happened along the way

Russ Cook/instagram

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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