Will the Finish Line Fade? Worthing’s “Hardest Geezer” Battles Physical and Political Barriers on Epic African Run

Challenging Marathon Endeavor:

Russell Cook, an extreme marathon runner known as Worthing’s ‘Hardest Geezer,’ is facing a potential roadblock in his quest to become the first person to run the entire length of Africa.

Embarking on an ambitious challenge of completing 360 marathons in just 240 days, he has covered around 7,400 miles of the 9,000-mile route.

However, his mission could be prematurely halted due to a visa issue, particularly with Algeria, the penultimate country on his route to Tunisia.

Complications and Determination:

Throughout his journey, Russell has encountered various complications, including an armed robbery that forced him to extend the challenge.

Now, the critical hurdle is obtaining a visa for Algeria.

In a video posted on social media, Russell expressed the significance of Algerian authorities granting him permission to continue his journey.

Despite facing potential setbacks, he highlighted the considerable distance covered—nearly 12,000 km (7,456 miles) through 13 countries—and the £140k raised for charity.

Appeal to Algerian Authorities:

In the video appeal, Russell addressed Algerian authorities, emphasizing the importance of securing visas for his team.

He conveyed his admiration for the country and expressed a desire to visit, turning to social media followers for support in reaching out to the appropriate channels in Algeria.

Political Assistance and Advocacy:

Upon learning of Russell’s situation, Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing, offered to assist by contacting the Foreign Office.

Another MP, Alexander Stafford, pledged to raise the issue with the Algerian ambassador.

This political support reflects efforts to navigate diplomatic channels and resolve the visa obstacle.

Remarkable Journey and Challenges:

Russell’s marathon endeavor, known as #ProjectAfrica, involves running over 9,000 miles from South Africa to Tunisia, crossing 16 countries.

As a self-described former ‘fat lad’ with a history of alcohol and gambling issues, Russell aims to endure the challenges and raise funds for charity.

The journey has already taken him through diverse environments, including rainforests and deserts, with notable trials of strength and endurance.

Visa Issue and Geopolitical Challenges:

With the looming Sahara Desert crossing representing a daunting segment of the challenge, Russell faces an additional hurdle with the visa issue for Algeria.

He acknowledges the complexity of geopolitical issues in the region and the necessity of crossing from Mauritania to Algeria on foot, a task that hasn’t been undertaken by foreigners in a considerable time.

Physical Toll and Fundraising:

Russell, maintaining a mantra of ‘you’ve got one life, so attack it,’ acknowledges the potential permanent damage to his body during this extreme endeavor.

Having commenced his journey on April 22, he is raising funds for charity, with half going to The Running Charity, aiding homeless youth, and the other half to WaterAid, providing clean water and sanitation in Africa.


Russell Cook’s incredible journey faces a critical juncture, emphasizing the interconnectedness of physical challenges, geopolitical realities, and diplomatic efforts.

The rallying support from political figures showcases the broader significance of such endeavors and the need for collaborative solutions to overcome obstacles.

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