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‘Hardest Geezer’ arrives at Euros for first England game

Charity fundraiser Russ Cook ran to Germany (the kba agency/PA)
Charity fundraiser Russ Cook ran to Germany (the kba agency/PA)

Charity fundraiser Russ Cook made it to the first England match of Euro 2024 after running from Wembley to the stadium in Germany.

The 27-year-old, known as Hardest Geezer, left Wembley Stadium on June 11 in a bid to reach the city of Gelsenkirchen in western Germany in time to see the England men’s football team in their opening fixture against Serbia.

Mr Cook updated his followers on social media on Sunday, showing him running the final stretches of his journey to Germany and celebrating England’s 1-0 win inside the Arena AufSchalke.

The charity campaigner videoed himself running with 10 kilometres to go, telling the camera: “Collars are up, business mode is activated. Let’s have it, come on England.”

He is then shown singing along to Sweet Caroline as the crowd in the stadium celebrates England’s victory, and says: “One-nil win secured, back on road in the morning. Up the boys, come on.”

After his arrival in Germany, Mr Cook will run from city to city to follow manager Gareth Southgate and the England team throughout the tournament and will be setting off on Monday to Frankfurt, where England will play Denmark on Thursday.

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

“This might be our year, I think we’ll be going all the way,” he said.

“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.”

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.

He said: “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.