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Briton who ran length of Africa says Congo kidnapping was only time he mulled quitting

AFTER running the length of Africa, British extreme athlete Russ Cook said he only considered quitting once during his near year-long odyssey — after he got kidnapped in the Congo by a gang armed with machetes.

“The scariest moment was in the Congo, when I was on the back of a motorbike, thinking I was about to die, getting driven into the jungle. That was pretty nuts,” the 27-year-old told reporters.

“Probably for about one minute (I) thought about quitting, and then I realised I couldn’t, so that was about as close as it got,” he said.

Cook’s 16,000-kilometre route took him up the continent’s west coast, battling sandstorms and blistering heat, injuries and food poisoning, and his team were even robbed at gunpoint in Angola.

“There’s obviously been a bunch of times where it was very difficult: Sahara desert, sandstorms, pushing that mileage up for the last couple of months was really tough as well.

“But I was never gonna quit – just got to get it done and the only way out is the end.”

Cook knew there would be difficulties along the way, but the reality of his ordeal – during which he raised more than half a million pounds for charity – turned out to be harder than he could ever have imagined.

“I knew it was going to be hard but I knew I was also going into the unknown, so I had no idea really of how hard it was going to be,” he said.

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“Safe to say it surpassed all expectations.”

Cook arrived to a hero’s welcome at Ras Angela in Tunisia on Sunday. His journey began last April in the South African village of L’Agulhas, Africa’s most southerly point.

Now he hopes his achievement inspires others to get more active.

“I’m a big believer in sport in general doing wonders for people’s lives,” Cook said. “It changed my life so I would love for more people to be inspired or motivated to go out running or take part in any kind of sport.”

After a hard-earned rest, he may be back in action before long.

“I think I’ve scratched the itch for a while but I wouldn’t be surprised if I started planning some more things pretty soon,” Cook said.

“I’ve got a whole list of ideas.”

By The African Mirror