Shropshire Star

‘Hardest Geezer’ running to Germany to ‘support the boys’ in Euro 2024 campaign

Russ Cook set off from Wembley Stadium on Tuesday with the aim of reaching Germany on Sunday.

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Russ Cook standing outside Wembley Stadium with his fists in the air

Charity fundraiser Russ Cook has set off on his latest running challenge which will take him to Germany to “support the boys” in England’s Euro 2024 campaign.

The 27-year-old, known as Hardest Geezer, left Wembley Stadium on Tuesday in a bid to reach the city of Gelsenkirchen in western Germany by Sunday – in time to see the England men’s football team in their opening fixture against Serbia.

Following the 352-mile run, Mr Cook will then run from city to city to follow manager Gareth Southgate and the England team throughout the tournament, saying he feels as though the squad will be “going all the way” this year.

Mr Cook, who completed a mammoth African trek from Cape Town to Tunisia in April, told the PA news agency: “Obviously England are playing in the Euros, I want to support the boys.”

He added: “This might be our year, I think we’ll be going all the way.

“I believe in Southgate, I trust the boys, I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold.”

Mr Cook said he will be aiming to run between 60 and 80 kilometres each day to cover the distances and similar to his challenge running the length of Africa, he will be inviting those who spot him to join him along the way.

“Maybe we’ll get a few running along, joining for the ones and twos in between the games,” he said.

“It will be wicked, I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Euro 2024
Russ Cook, nicknamed Hardest Geezer, will be running to Germany to ‘support the boys’ in England’s Euro 2024 campaign (kba agency/PA)

Mr Cook has been sponsored in his venture by Sports Direct and retro shirt brand Score Draw, donating his sponsorship to The Running Charity – which supports young people who are homeless or have complex needs.

“I had a call with the lovely people Score Draw and Sports Direct and they said ‘do you want to run there’ and I said ‘yes, let’s do it’,” he said.

“We’ve sorted out a nice donation for The Running Charity so everyone is a winner.”

He added: “It’s good to be able to do these things that have a positive impact and that are more than just running around.”

Along the way, he will be recording regular video updates to keep the public up to date with his progress through social media.

Mr Cook said his fundraising page from Project Africa is still live, saying those that want to donate to his cause can do so there.

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