Worthing man running length of Africa secures Algerian visa

A man running the length of Africa has secured the visa needed to continue his challenge.

Russell Cook, from Worthing, West Sussex, had planned to complete the length of 360 marathons in 240 days.

After visa complications, the 26-year-old previously said the challenge was dependent on whether he could secure permission to cross the border into Algeria from Mauritania.

The UK’s Algerian embassy said he will receive a courtesy visa on the spot.

“You will get a multi-entry visa to allow you to cross Algeria through the province of Tindouf in order to pursue your charitable mission,” the embassy said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Welcome to Algeria and good luck.”

On day 283 of the challenge, Mr Cook, nicknamed “Hardest Geezer”, said: “Boys and girls we did it. We’re going to Algeria.

“There is still over 4,000km of running left to do, but I’ll have a finish date for Project Africa ready to announce pretty soon. Daiquiris on the beach in sight.”

The extreme challenge began at South Africa’s most southerly point on 22 April and will finish at Tunisia’s most northerly point.

Mr Cook had originally aimed to cover 9,320 miles (14,500km) during the challenge, crossing 16 borders, but extended the mission due to complications with his visas, health scares, geopolitical issues and an armed robbery.

Last week, he said it was “game over” if he could not secure the visa into Algeria.

“I’ve been on the road for 278 days, ran 12,000km [7,456 miles] across 13 different countries, raised over £140,000 for charity – but it is all hanging in the balance,” he said.

Conservative MP for East Worthing Tim Loughton and Alexander Stafford MP previously offered to help by raising the issue with the Algerian Embassy, the Foreign Office and the Algerian ambassador.

The challenge is in aid of The Running Charity and has raised £149,389 so far.

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on X, and on Instagram. Send your story ideas to southeasttoday@bbc.co.uk.

Leave a Comment