Hardest Geezer Robbed At Gunpoint As He Attempts to Run the Length of Africa 


A little over two months ago, we highlighted the inspiring running goal of UK runner Russell Cook, who has earned the nickname of Worthing’s “Hardest Geezer.”

After two years of logistical planning and training, the 26-year-old British runner set out to run the length of Africa.

This trans-continental run will involve navigating a route of about 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) while passing through 16 African countries—from the tip of South Africa to the northern coast of Tunisia.

Those who have been following Russell Cook’s journey to run the length of Africa May recall that the “Hardest Geezer” planned to do this monumental long-distance run as a running streak, not taking a single rest day.

In fact, the “Hardest Geezer” runner planned to string together 240 days of running at least 31 miles every single day, covering the distance of more than 350 marathons during this incredible running streak.

Russell Cook is raising money for The Running Charity, which helps people without homes, and WaterAid through this journey.

Unfortunately, though Worthing’s Russell Cook had made some great progress in his run up the length of Africa, his plans to make this transcontinental run a nonstop running streak have been thwarted.

While running through Angola on day 64 of his 240-day run, the “Hardest Geezer” and his support team were robbed at gunpoint.

Reportedly, the robbers stole cameras, phones, cash, and passports in the incident.

Cook told the BBC that the team was approached by two men carrying guns who “demanded everything.”

It is a huge relief that Cook and his crew survived the incident and were not harmed, but this challenge will put a major delay in the run as it may take up to two weeks to obtain new visas.

As Cook said in an interview with the BBC:

“Most importantly, they took my passport, which had a visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo in it…We can’t go anywhere until we have the visas.”

Still, further proving he is indeed the “Hardest Geezer,” Russell Cook has every intention of continuing and finishing what he started.

We are relieved that Russell Cook and his crew are safe, and we hope that the process to replace the stolen visas goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. 

Most importantly, we hope that there are no additional dangerous incidents that put his safety and health in jeopardy.

For now, Britain’s “Hardest Geezer” is exercising his “patience muscles,“ as he awaits obtaining the documentation he will need to continue forward with his running goal of running the length of Africa.

You can follow along with Russell Cook’s run through Africa on his Instagram here.

For help with setting your own running goals, check out our article on goal setting for runners here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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