Rosie Watson is on an extraordinary journey: running from the UK all the way to Mongolia, solo and self-supported. She is doing it to raise awareness of the climate crisis, and will meet people along the way who are dedicated to tackling environmental and sustainability issues.
The self-described “fell runner, climber, wild swimmer and all-round mountain lover” set off more than two months ago, on August 17, from her home in the Lake District. At the end of last week, she was already more than 1200km into her journey, reaching Freiberg in south Germany after having crossed the Netherlands and the wet and misty Black Forest of Germany.
Ahead of her lies a challenging route, to say the least: through the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites and the Julian Alps to Ljubljana; across Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria; across the Black Sea by ferry and then through Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan heading to the Caspian Sea; across the Caspian Sea by ferry to Kazakhstan, and then onwards towards Mongolia.
Watson, 25, is chronicling her journey on her website, as well as on social media. You can also follow the hashtag #newstoryrun.
Schwarzwald! 10 days straight (260km). Lots of battle with rain, mist & wet tent, but left to come down to Freiburg yesterday very happy in both legs & heart (and maybe a bit of athletes foot from the damp #adventurereality #notglamping #honestreviews) ♥ . What I've learnt in the last 10 days: - Always check were the next shops will be (had a mega good crisis). - There are a million types of mushroom in this forest alone (wisely calculated guesstimation). >>>> I guess if knew which were poisonous I would have been less hungry! - When feet that have been wet and mostly cold for 10 days enter a warm house, they swell up like balloons (more glam adventure facts, you're welcome) - Singing Waterloo by ABBA loudly solves most hardships! . And of course, I re-learnt as I always do, how incredible it is to spend the majority of hours outdoors, awake & sleeping! ☔ ☀ . Total now at 1186km, and.... 8 WEEKS TODAY! #newstoryrun
A post shared by Rosie Watson (@rosiewats) on
Why are you doing it? What gets you up on your feet each morning as you continue on this incredible journey?
I love running and being outdoors, but I also care deeply about making the world better. My degree was in Environment and Business at University of Leeds, and this is the area I have always worked in – but always in office jobs, and I found there was something missing from this, and didn’t want to spend my life cooped up inside!
No matter how interesting the work was, it did not feel like a good way to live for me. Therefore I find it easy to keep motivated and get up in the morning to continue running, as this journey is combining the two things I care most about. It's amazing to do something which makes a difference, while also being outside all of the time, as well as seeing new places through travelling on foot, which gives a much richer experience than normal travel.
What are you most worried about in the context of your expedition – what are things that you fear may derail the project?
I'm most worried about injury, as I think that’s the only thing that could really stop me completely. This means that looking after my energy and body is the most important thing.
The biggest challenge coming up in the near future is the winter. I will continue camping throughout so I need to make sure I am prepared, with the right kit, and plan my route wisely to avoid getting stuck on a snowy mountain. I am trying to avoid roads as much as possible.
Further along, challenges will include a greater language barrier, and lots of things such as finding water in hotter, less populated areas in summer, and navigation in areas with less good maps and no signal ... but I focus on one month at a time as this is the best way to organise such a long journey. I also don't believe it's good to worry about things which are far in the future, or not in my control.
Life has hazards, and always will – there's no point adding more stress to it.
What have you learned about yourself in the nearly two months since embarking on your journey?
One of the main ones is how amazing the body can adapt if you look after and listen to it, and rest properly in the down time. The body was meant to move, not sit in one position all day, so although I obviously get sore spots sometimes, and tight muscles, I feel better than I have ever been physically.
The other thing is how amazing it is to be outside all of the time, night and day. I camp more nights than I stay with people, and it's just the most amazing experience to do this for such a long period of time and really fall into the rhythms of nature, as opposed to having a life revolving around being indoors.
The exchange has been lightly edited for clarity.