‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook reveals scariest moment from epic run across Africa | World News

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“The Hardest Geezer” has revealed the scariest moment from his gruelling 352-day run across the whole length of Africa.

In a news conference, Russ Cook said that – out of the 16 countries he visited during his 9,941-mile journey – he was most afraid “in the Congo on the back of a motorbike, thinking I was about to die”.

He had gone missing and was separated from his supporters for days in the jungle, but was eventually freed after villagers armed with machetes were paid off.

Meanwhile, in Angola, he and his team were robbed at gunpoint – with cameras, phones and passports stolen.

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Sky reporter runs with ‘Hardest Geezer’

The 27-year-old – who went through 30 pairs of trainers during his quest – has already raised £700,000 for good causes and is aiming to hit £1m.

Donations will go towards supporting young people going through hard times – as well as educational and cultural programmes in Algerian refugee camps.

When asked what motivated him as he ran the equivalent distance of 379 marathons, Cook said his family – and the legacy he will pass on if he has children – was a driving force.

“I’d love for more people to be inspired or motivated to go out running,” he added.

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Russ Cook completes his run through Africa
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Cook cools off after completing his run

During the live Q&A session, he was also asked about behind-the-scenes logistics from his mammoth journey… including how he washed.

“Not very often,” Cook quipped – adding that everything from rivers, lakes, bucket baths and a makeshift shower on the back of a 4×4 were used to maintain basic hygiene, as well as the odd hotel if he was lucky.

There were some more light-hearted questions too, with curious journalists wondering what his favourite movie is.

Fight Club, Interstellar and the romcom About Time made the list… but Forrest Gump – where Tom Hanks’s character runs across the US for three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours – didn’t.

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A long journey across Africa

Running group challenges Cook’s claim

While the endurance athlete’s huge achievement of taking 19 million steps hasn’t been disputed, the World Runners Association has questioned Cook’s claim that he is the first person to run the length of Africa.

The WRA consists of seven athletes who have successfully circumnavigated the world on foot – and it argues that one of its members, Denmark’s Jesper Kenn Olsen, was actually the first to complete this challenge back in 2010.

Phil Essam, the association’s president, said: “Mr Olsen ran through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa. He hereby fulfilled the criteria for a full-length run across Africa.”

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