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Man’s running challenge across Africa ‘hangs in the balance’ due to visa issues

A man jogging the length of Africa for charity has said his journey now “hangs in the balance” because of visa issues.

After nearly 7,500 miles (12,000km) and 278 days of running, Russ Cook said his Project Africa challenge could be cut short because he may not be able to cross the Algerian border to Mauritania.

Mr Cook, who so far has run across 13 countries, uploaded a video of himself on X, formerly Twitter, thanking his followers for their support.

The marathon runner, from Worthing in West Sussex, said: “Girls and boys, we have a bit of a problem. We haven’t been able to get visas for Algeria and if we don’t get them, then it is game over for Project Africa.

“I’ve been on the road for 278 days and ran 12,000km through 13 different countries and raised over £140,000 for charity.

“But it is all hanging in the balance, to be honest, on whether Algeria will give us permission to cross this border with Mauritania.”

Mr Cook said reaching Algeria is “the only option we’ve got” as he aims to run across the most northern part of Africa and has urged Algerian authorities to help with his endeavour.

“There’s literally no other way to get to the most northern tip of Africa for us,” he explained.

“So Algeria, if you’re listening, we would really appreciate someone reaching out.

“If there’s anything you need to see from me, please let me know. It would be a massive privilege to visit your country.”

Man wearing an orange top and rucksack and smiling
Russ Cook said that he hopes to inspire others to challenge themselves through taking on the running adventure (Russ Cook/PA)

He added: “To everyone that’s been following this journey online, thank you so much for the support you’ve shown me over the last nine months. But right now, I need you more than ever.

His adventure began on February 5 last year when he aimed to take on 360 marathons over 240 days across 16 countries including Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Angola and South Africa, with no rest days.

He said the idea of the marathon challenge across Africa came about after he ran from Asia to London in 2019 solo and unassisted.

That feat saw him complete 71 marathons in 66 days through 11 countries, including Turkey and Germany.

So far, Mr Cook has raised more than £140,000 for charity and he hopes to raise funds for vital work The Running Charity does to help those facing difficulties.