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Briton, nicknamed ‘Hardest Geezer’, becomes first person to run length of Africa

British national Russ Cook, known as the “Hardest Geezer,” has successfully completed a challenging trek that took him over 352 days to finish. During his journey, he covered more than 10,000 miles, passed through 16 countries, and took over 19 million steps, all while raising money for charity. Mr. Cook departed from South Africa’s southernmost point on April 22, 2023, and faced various obstacles, including visa issues, health scares, and an armed robbery, but he persevered and reached Ras Angela, Tunisia’s most northerly point.

Claim of Being the First to Run Africa’s Length

  • Mr. Cook believes that he is the first person to have run the entire length of Africa, and he expressed his hope that his achievement would inspire others to take up sports.

World Runners Association’s Challenge

  • The claim made by Mr. Russ Cook has been challenged by the World Runners Association (WRA), a group of seven athletes who have successfully circumnavigated the world on foot.
  • According to the WRA, one of their members, Jesper Kenn Olsen from Denmark, was the first person to run across Africa during his “world run” challenge.

Jesper Kenn Olsen’s Successful Africa Crossing

  • Olsen began his challenge on December 28, 2008, in Taba, Egypt, and ran 7,948 miles (12,787 kilometers) to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, completing his journey in 2010.
  • He ran through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa, fulfilling the criteria for a full-length run across Africa, according to WRA president Phil Essam.

WRA’s Recognition of the First Africa Crosser

  • Based on the evidence presented, the WRA recognizes Mr. Jesper Kenn Olsen of Denmark as the first person to have run the full length of Africa, and therefore contests the claim made by Mr. Russ Cook.

The dispute over the first person to run the length of Africa highlights the importance of verifying and acknowledging the achievements of adventurers and explorers, ensuring that the historical record is accurate and fair.


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