Briton set to complete epic Africa runSun, 07 Apr 2024 12:15:32 GMT

A British man on a quest to run the length of Africa is set to complete his mammoth challenge later Sunday in Tunisia.Russ Cook’s epic endeavour has seen him live up to his “hardest geezer (man)” nickname with health problems, visa issues and even an armed robbery to contend with on his over 16,000 kilometre (9,900 mile) journey.The 27-year-old set off from South Africa’s most southerly point on April 22 last year.By the time he crosses the finish line in northern Tunisia he will have taken more than 19 million steps in 16 countries.Cook’s efforts have raised more than £550,000 ($696,000) for the Running Charity and for Sandblast, which raises awareness of the indigenous Saharawis of Western Sahara.For the final leg of his run, the endurance athlete from Worthing in southern England was joined by supporters.”Wanted to open up the last day of this project to anyone and everyone who has been watching and supporting,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.”Come and run the last marathon, the last half, 10km, five kilometres, one kilometre. Whatever you fancy,” he added.The end of the challenge will be celebrated with a party at a hotel in Bizerte, Africa’s northernmost city.It will feature a performance by rock band Soft Play, formerly known as Slaves.”Can’t quite believe it but we’ve managed to pull off Soft Play playing the finish line party in Tunisia,” he said.”Get your daiquiris ready girls & boys this is gonna be mega,” he added. Before setting off last year Cook said his approach to life was to throw “everything and the kitchen sink” at it.”I’m a totally normal bloke, so if I can do this, hopefully people can apply this to their own lives in whichever way they choose,” he said.”For 99 percent of people, it’s not going to be running across Africa, but it might look like chasing their dreams a little bit more,” he added.Last week he described the past year as “the toughest in my life but an immense honour”.”We have met incredible people in every single country we’ve been to that have welcomed us with love & kindness. The human spirit is a beautiful thing,” he said.