'I'm out here living': Russell Cook aims to become first person to run length of Africa

Russell Cook gave ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent an update on his progress, as he attempts to become the first person to run the entire length of Africa

Russell Cook is a long way from home but step-by-step he is getting closer, through the wide-open spaces of southern Africa.

He is aiming to become the first person to run the length of the African continent - the equivalent of completing 360 marathons in 240 days.

His challenge involves dodging minefields, running through military zones and crossing 500 miles of roadless desert.

"I'm in Namibia... in the middle of nowhere to be honest with you," he told ITV News.

"It's just open desert with one big tarmac road going through the middle of it."

If the environment is unforgiving wait until you hear his daily routine.

He said: "I run 20km, then I stop, eat some food, drink some water, and then run another 20km, and then do the same again, and then finish with another 20km, and go to bed, and wake up and do exactly the same thing again."

He began his journey at South Africa's most southerly point and has now made his way up into neighbouring Namibia - in the last 24 days he has travelled around 1,300km.

The plan is to pass through 16 countries in total and to reach Tunisia's most northerly point by Christmas.

Interactions with the animal kingdom have so far been entirely non-scary, but earlier on into his journey there was a run-in with some would-be robbers.

Russell began running as a way to battle his problems with alcohol and gambling. Credit: ITV News

"There was two of them, but one of them couldn't keep up with the running long enough to go through with the robbing and then the other one I ended up talking round," he added.

Russell started running in his native Worthing as a way out of the problems he was having with alcohol and gambling.

His marathons across Africa will raise money for charities concerned with mental health and the provision of clean water to places around the world, where they need it most

He said: "I've lived a lot of experiences and worked a lot of jobs that I really didn't find very fulfilling or meaningful and now I'm in pursuit of something that is very meaningful and fulfilling, and it's a incredible opportunity that I get to run the entire length of Africa, experience the entire continent on foot and you know I'm out here living. I'm in the desert running everyday."

And there is plenty of time left to sponsor Russell - a link to his page can be found here - as he's got about 14,000km to go.

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