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Worthing man running length of Africa ‘stopped in tracks’ by visa issue

Russell Cook, also known as Hardest Geezer, started the challenge back in April (Instagram)
Russell Cook, also known as Hardest Geezer, started the challenge back in April (Instagram)

A man running the length of Africa for charity has said visa issues could put the challenge in doubt.

Russell Cook, known by his online nickname “Hardest Geezer”, had planned to complete the length of 360 marathons in 240 days to raise money for Water Aid UK and The Running Charity.

After setbacks including an armed robbery, the 26-year-old from Worthing, West Sussex was forced to extend the challenge.

Mr Cook said it was now dependant on whether he could secure permission to cross the border into Algeria from Mauritania.

He posted on X, formerly Twitter: “I’ve been on the road for 278 days, ran 12,000km (7,456 miles) across 13 different countries, raised over £140,000 for charity - but it is all hanging in the balance.

“If we don’t get the visas, then it is game over.”

East Worthing Tory MP Tim Loughton responded: “Russ, have been sent this.

“Can you email me some details and we will do what we can to help through the Foreign Office and Algerian Embassy.”

Conservative colleague Alexander Stafford MP, who represents Rother Valley, also said he would help by raising the issue with the Algerian ambassador.

Mr Cook started the challenge at South Africa’s most southerly point on April 22 last year, with a plan to cross 16 borders, journey across the Sahara Desert, and eventually finish on Tunisia’s most northerly point.

However, on the 77th day of his journey, he was robbed at gunpoint in Angola.

The thieves took his and his team’s phones, cameras, cash, and passports, leaving them stranded.

Mr Cook has raised £145,000 so far via his online fundraiser.