Rosie's run for climate crisis on hold after Kosovo lockdown

A woman who planned to run thousands of miles, from Cumbria to Mongolia, is currently stuck in Kosovo due to the global pandemic.

Rosie Watson, 25, left the mountains of the Lake District behind to run across Europe in an effort to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

She started her journey from her home in Lorton and ran to Newcastle, hopped on a ferry to the Netherlands before running more than 3000km -passing through Zurich in Switzerland, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania.

Seven weeks ago, her journey was halted as the borders of Kosovo were closed due to the coronavirus. She is now stranded in Prizren, a town 85km (50 miles) southwest of the capital, Pristina.

After months of planning the trip, Rosie says she could never've prepared for a hurdle as big as a global pandemic. She said: "I don't think I could have ever have imagined that this happened or being one of the challenges of the trip.

"I'm in Kosovo now and I had been running for seven months when I arrived in Kosovo and written about 25 projects along the way to do with the climate crisis.

"As soon as the first coronavirus case was announced they closed all of the borders and all of the shops - everything."

Credit: Rosie Watson

Thankfully Rosie isn't on her own in lockdown. Her partner Mike is doing a parallel journey to Mongolia on his bike and they were able to meet up and secure a place in a hostel.

She said: "As the situation developed we realised we should stay in the same country and then we were planning to meet at the Border to make sure that we went through at the exact same time but then it all locked down."

Kosovo has been in a lockdown since the middle of March. The virus has killed at least 22 people in the Balkan nation, which has almost 800 confirmed cases.

The lockdown in Kosovo is much different to that in the UK, Rosie explains: "We have 90 minute slots to do shopping or whatever we need to do based on the second to last digit on our passports.

"Originally we just thought we could go out to do shopping and it didn't include exercise as it only mentioned shopping but when we asked around it seems a bit more relaxed."

She plans to carry on her journey as soon as the lockdown is over, as she says "the climate crisis isn't going to go away because of the pandemic so the journey isn't going to either."

  • You can follow Rosie's journey on her blog.