Man running length of Africa gets green light to enter Algeria after visa issues

Man running length of Africa gets green light to enter Algeria after visa issues
Russ Cook has been given the green light to cross the border into Algeria to continue his charitable venture running the length of Africa (Russ Cook/PA)
PA Archive/PA Images - Russ Cook

A man running the length of Africa has been given the green light to enter Algeria to continue his gruelling challenge after facing visa issues which left his venture “hanging in the balance”.

Russ Cook, from Worthing in west Sussex, has been running the length of the continent for 283 days, covering more than 7,600 miles and raising more than £150,000 for charity.

The 26-year-old encountered complications with his visa last week at the Algerian border with Mauritania, previously saying the challenge was dependent on whether he could secure permission to cross the border with there being “no other way” for him to reach the northern tip of Africa.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) previously said the visa issue was a matter for the issuing country and also cited safety concerns in travelling through “dangerous areas”.

However, on Sunday the UK’s Algerian embassy said Mr Cook will be granted a courtesy visa on the spot in order for him to continue his charitable mission.

Russ Cook running challengeRuss Cook hopes to become the first person to run the length of Africa (Russ Cook/PA)PA Archive/PA Images - Russ Cook

The embassy said he will be granted a “multi-entry visa” which will allow him to cross Algeria through the province of Tindouf, in a post to X, adding: “Welcome to Algeria and Good luck!”

Following the announcement, Mr Cook thanked those who offered support.

On his X platform, where he posts regular updates about his challenge, Mr Cook wrote: “Boys and girls we did it. We’re going to Algeria, and the power of social media made it happen.

“There is still over 4000km of running left to do but I’ll have a finish date for project Africa ready to announce pretty soon. Daiquiri’s on the beach in sight.

“Thank you to everyone who supported, sent messages, went through their contacts for us.”

He added that he wanted to say “a big thank you” to Labour and Conservative MPs who had “both been immensely helpful here”.

The marathoner, who is running in aid of The Running Charity, previously explained how the challenge was at risk.

“I’ve been on the road for 278 days and ran 12,000km through 13 different countries and raised over £140,000 for charity,” he said in a video posted to X last week.

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

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