July 4, 2024

The Hardest Geezer to publish memoir under Flight Books

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Endurance athlete Russ Cook, known as Hardest Geezer, is to publish his memoir and the story of becoming the first person to run the length of Africa. The book will be published under Steven Bartlett’s newly launched publishing venture in partnership with Ebury, Flight Books.

Hardest Geezer: Becoming the First Person to Run the Entire Length of Africa will be released on 24th October 2024 in hardback, audio and ebook. In partnership with Steven Bartlett, Ebury Publishing Director Charlotte Hardman acquired world rights directly from the author. 

Worthing-born Russ Cook became the first person to run the full length of Africa in an ultra-marathon that covered over 10,000 miles (the equivalent of 386 marathons), travelling through 16 countries from South Africa to Tunisia and taking 352 days. Along the way, Russ was the victim of an attempted kidnap, held at knifepoint in an armed robbery and refused passage through Algeria, but kept running every day. He made his way through sandstorms in the Sahara, over mountain ranges and through rainforests and during the course of the challenge, which he completed on 7th April 2024, he raised over £1 million for charity. 

The relationship between Steven and Russ began when just one week into his Africa challenge, Russ’ journey started gaining more traction across social media and his latest updates appeared on Steven’s feed. Steven started to explore the profile of the endurance athlete where he discovered Russ’ unbelievable past achievements including a record-breaking fastest car-pulling marathon, burying himself alive for 7 days and streaming it, as well as an endurance run through Asia.  Impressed, Steven immediately wanted to learn more and planned to reach out to him but soon discovered Russ had actually already messaged him asking for his support. Following a series of messages as Russ was tackling the first leg of his Africa run, a true bond was cemented between the two. Russ’ African expedition was thrown into jeopardy when a series of set-backs compromised his financial position and threatened the remainder of this record breaking challenge, Steven made introductions that provided Russ and his team with the much-needed sponsorship from brands including Perfect Ted and Huel to complete the mission. Upon his return, Steven invited Russ as a guest on Diary Of A CEO to share his story in a world first. This next venture together will enable  Russ’ incredible story from deep depression to record-breaking challenges to reach global audiences faster than ever through this new publishing venture.  

In Hardest Geezer Russ will share his life story, including his motivation to take on such extreme challenges. Woven through the anecdotes of his adventures he offers inspirational lessons on endurance, survival and motivation. 

Steven Bartlett comments: “The world watched in awe as Russ conquered Africa in an epic run earlier this year. But Russ isn’t one to stay still. Today, he’s launching his debut book, Hardest Geezer, published under my brand new venture, Flight Books. This book goes beyond the miles – it’s a deep dive into his untold stories, a testament to his epic grit, unwavering determination, and the immense heart he carries with him, even beyond the road. This book is a powerful testament to human potential, and I know readers will be as deeply connected to his story as I have been.” 

Russ Cook says: “So much happened to me on my journey through Africa that I’ve never spoken about before. I’m really thrilled that Ebury and Steven have given me the opportunity to tell my story and explain to everyone what running the length of Africa was really like. And I’m buzzing to be able to share my book with the hundreds of thousands of people who have supported me on the way.”Ebury Publishing Director Charlotte Hardman says: “I find Russ’s achievements astonishing, but perhaps more astonishing is his down-to-earth, anything-is-possible attitude. Everyone at Ebury was captivated by his challenge to run the length of Africa and cheered him on all the way, so we are absolutely delighted that we are lucky enough to publish his brilliantly inspiring and motivational memoir this autumn.”

For further information contact Patsy O’Neill PONeill@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Flight Group and Steven Bartlett Press Enquiries: rachel.hardy@ragency.com