Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Russell Cook: Hardest Geezer sets off on Euro 2024 run

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By Christian FullerBBC News, South East

Sports Direct Russ Cook at Wembley StadiumSports Direct

Russ Cook set off on the 352-mile (566km) journey from Wembley Stadium on Tuesday

Russell Cook, the man nicknamed “Hardest Geezer”, has set off on his new challenge – running to Germany to support England at Euro 2024.

The 27-year-old, from Worthing, West Sussex, took on his latest endurance test two months after running the entire length of Africa.

He set off on the 352-mile (566km) journey from Wembley Stadium at 15:30 BST, and aims to arrive in time England’s match at Veltins Arena in Germany on Sunday.

Mr Cook said: “It is going to be a race against the clock, but I’m determined to support Gareth and the boys.”

Mr Cook finished his previous challenge in Tunisia on 7 April after 352 days despite complications with visas, health scares, geopolitical issues and an armed robbery.

He has raised more than £1m ($1.27m) for charity.

Once in Germany Mr Cook will then run from city to city to follow the England team throughout the tournament.

“I am buzzing to be back on the road again. If people spot me along the way, please feel free to give me a wave or even run alongside me for a while.”

Mr Cook, who is raising money for The Running Charity, will be donating his sponsorship from Sports Direct and Score Draw to the charity, which supports young people who are homeless or have complex needs.

Getty Images Russ Cook at the finish line in TunisiaGetty Images

Russ Cook previously ran the entire length of Africa in 352 days

Mr Cook’s last extreme challenge began at South Africa’s most southerly point on 22 April 2023, and finished more than 10,190 miles (16,400km) north in Tunisia.

He had originally planned to complete the equivalent of 360 marathons in 240 days but extended the challenge due to complications.

Before he set off, he said he hoped to look back at his life and have no regrets after admitting to struggling with his mental health, gambling and drinking.

Mr Cook, who is raising money for The Running Charity, also ran the London Marathon in April and is due to run the Sahara Marathon next year.

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