British ultrarunner mugged at gunpoint during run across Africa

Russell Cook

A British man on a journey to become the first person to trek the entire length of Africa has run into an issue in the southern African nation of Angola. Russell Cook of Worthing, UK, was on the 64th day of his expedition when he and his crew were confronted by two armed men, who stole their cameras, phones, cash and passports.

Cook, 26, who goes by the nickname “The Hardest Geezer” on Twitter, shared the news with his 185,000 followers, explaining that he’d been held up by a gang of men with guns: “Nothing like a gun being pointed at your face to let you know you’re alive. Lively one today.”

“I met the boys for a lunch break. Chatting our usual dribble in the van like any other day when a couple [of] lads popped open the side door and demanded everything we have,” Cook tweeted.

Reflecting on the robbery, Cook expressed gratitude for being alive and emphasized his team’s commitment to persevering despite the loss. He acknowledged the friendly and welcoming nature of the people they have met throughout Angola and refused to let this incident overshadow the country’s reputation. Cook and his team also acknowledged the efforts of the local police currently assisting them to ensure their safety.

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Cook’s ambitious endeavor began on April 22 at the southernmost point of South Africa and will finish at the northernmost point of Tunisia. Over eight months, Cook aims to cover an astounding 9,320 miles (14,500 km), traversing 16 borders and encountering various types of terrain, as well as cities, rainforests, and a three-month stint in the Sahara Desert. Each day, he has a goal of covering at least 50 km.

Cook’s endeavor serves as a fundraising initiative for The Running Charity and Water Aid. He hopes to wrap up his journey by Christmas.

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