‘World’s hardest geezer’ tells England heroes they can win Euros in rallying cry as he runs to every Three Lions game

‘World’s hardest geezer’ tells England heroes they can win Euros in rallying cry as he runs to every Three Lions game

ENGLAND’S self-styled Hardest Geezer issued a rallying cry to the Three Lions stars while he jogged to tonight’s match: “Keep going boys and you’ll reach the finish line.”

Russ Cook, 27, made history by completing the equivalent of 377 marathons in Africa as he ran 9,891 miles from Cape Town to Tunisia over 352 days.

Paul EdwardsEngland’s self-proclaimed Hardest Geezer rallied the Three Lions stars while running to today’s match, saying: ‘Keep going, boys, and you’ll reach the finish line’[/caption]

‘Hardest Geezer’ Russ Cook is now running to every England game in Germany after setting off from Wembley Stadium a fortnight agoPaul Edwards

GiveStarRuss previously set himself the ultimate test — running the length of Africa, above[/caption]

He is now running to every England game in Germany after setting off from Wembley Stadium a fortnight ago.

As he headed to Cologne for tonight’s final group game against Slovenia, the long-distance specialist took a brief rest to give skipper Harry Kane and co a lift after their painful draw against Denmark.

Russ, who was joined by Sun mascot Harry Mane when he set off, said: “Tournament football is tough.

“It’s a long hard slog, just like an ultra marathon, and you’ve got to stay focused. The team have got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and just keep going.

“They can make it. We’ve got the stamina and dedication — we can win the Euros. Come on England!”

Former boozer and gambler Russ, who once dubbed himself the hardest geezer in his home town of Worthing, Sussex, turned his life around at 19 after a pal challenged him to run ­the Brighton Half Marathon.

He said: “I was in a bad place, I was unfit and drinking and blowing money in the bookies, so I agreed.

“Through training, I learnt the values of running and discipline and self-belief, which empowered me, and I applied it to other things in life.”

After completing a series of endurance challenges, he set himself the ultimate test — running the length of Africa. He completed it in April, taking 19million steps in 20 pairs of trainers to cross 16 countries.

He battled injuries, food poisoning, extreme heat, a kidnapping and robbery to become the first to do it.

His magnificent efforts raised ­£1million for charities which help the homeless and refugees.

The huge red beard and ponytail he grew during the trek earned him the nickname “Africa’s Forrest Gump”, in a nod to the Tom Hanks movie.

Brighton fan Russ was looking forward to watching the Euros on TV until he was offered the chance of going to games — by running to them.

Russ, sponsored on the run by Sports Direct, said: “I ran from ­Wembley Stadium to Harwich, got the ferry over to the Netherlands, then ran from the Hook of Holland to ­Gelsenkirchen for the first game.

“Then I went from there to Frankfurt and now to Cologne.”

England are top of their group with four points and are almost guaranteed a place in the knockout stage.

But it feels as if the team has hit the wall early. Critics such as Gary Lineker blasted their display in the 1-1 draw against Denmark and a row blew up between players and ex-internationals working as TV pundits.

But Russ is confident England can keep going and cross the finishing line first. He said: “I’m fine with how things have gone. We’ve got four points from two games, we’re top of the group.”

And he is hoping he is still running when the final takes place in Berlin on July 14.

ENGLAND fans arriving in Cologne were relieved last night after brewery bosses rushed in extra beer supplies. A crisis was feared after Scotland fans drank bars dry. Back home, up to 25 million pints will be downed today in pubs and homes.

MEDIUM IN PLEA TO TAKE RISKS

THE Sun’s medium Chloe Smith yesterday urged England boss Gareth Southgate to “take risks and don’t overthink”.

She pulled a “fool” tarot card ahead of tonight’s clash with Slovenia.

But she said the “strong card of energy is actually a good omen — as long as the fans keep the faith in the team”.

Chloe, 26, of Uttoxeter, Staffs, said: “Stay open and embrace the unknown. Football is bringing the nation together, it’s time to take this new path of love, take risks and don’t overthink. What will be will be.”

Meanwhile, The Sun’s druid, King Arthur Pendragon, backed England to win 1-0 tonight.

And he cast a spell from Stonehenge “using our nation’s natural energy to fire up the lads to beat Slovenia and top the group”.

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