Rosie, the runner, finds Park Rapids

Rosie Swale-Pope has completed a journey that most people can only dream about. "Rosie the runner," has been traveling around the world on foot for cancer awareness. Starting from her home in Tenby, Wales, Oct. 2, 2003, she arrived in the Park Ra...

Rosie Swale-Pope has completed a journey that most people can only dream about.

"Rosie the runner," has been traveling around the world on foot for cancer awareness.

Starting from her home in Tenby, Wales, Oct. 2, 2003, she arrived in the Park Rapids area Monday afternoon.

According to Rosie, she stopped in Park Rapids to visit dentist Jay Jorgenson to have some work done on her teeth. This work will be an ongoing process over the next few months. Rosie plans to head to the Twin Cities next week, then return to Park Rapids for some time. She will continue her journey on foot and return to Park Rapids for dental visits (she is not sure by what means she will get back to Park Rapids, but seems determined to find a way).

Rosie said while she was in Grand Forks she met the inventor of "Get-a-Grip" cleats, Jon Larson, president of Sure Foot. Ironically, they are cleats she wears on her shoes regularly in slippery conditions. Larson recommended Dr. Jorgenson to her.


Rosie's journey originally began when she participated in a road race to raise money for books at a school in an Albanian village. This experience led her to participate in the London Marathon and then the Sahara Marathon. A 26-mile run, Sahara Marathon participants are required to travel with all their camping equipment and food.

"There's a freedom with the feet; you just need a pair of shoes. If you are in any city, neighborhood or town, you just put on your shoes and in a short time you can explore it," she said.

Rosie has run across Cuba, Kosovo and Romania to bring awareness to the various charities she supports.

Rosie said she is completing this journey to bring awareness to other charities as well, which includes, the Siberian Railway Cancer Hospital at Omsk in Siberia and the Kitezh Community for Orphan Children Orphanage in Russia.

"I believe in local charities very much," she added.

"The death of my husband from cancer taught me how precious life is," she said. "I wanted to do something special in his honor and in honor of all the people with cancer."

Rosie said she trained everywhere she went.

"When I got to a place, like London for a visit I ran everywhere," she said.


To begin her journey, Rosie left her home in Wales, took a boat from England to Holland and traveled all the way across Russia. She flew across the Bering Sea and continued her journey from Wales, Alaska down to Nome. She traveled along the Iditarod Trail to the Yukon River and into North Dakota.

"The rule of this journey is I cross no oceans only seas and I have to do it all on foot," she said.

After leaving Minnesota, Rosie will head to Newfoundland across Greenland, Iceland and down through Scotland back to her home in Wales.

Along her journey she has compiled 46 scrapbooks and walked through 36 pairs of shoes.

Rosie said the winter storm she traveled through this past weekend was not as difficult as other experiences she has had.

"I am used to the cold," she added.

Rosie said she broke a personal record Sunday, traveling 28 miles in one day through the stormy weather.

"In Siberia, it was minus 50 and 40 degrees constantly and not a very good road," she said. "In Alaska, it was even colder - minus 62 degrees Celsius."


Rosie said during the storm people stopped along the road to offer her help. A state trooper had to help her pull her 300-pound cart out of the deep snow early Monday morning.

"I made it through the storm," she said. "I think it is because this journey is meant to succeed."

Rosie sleeps outside in her cart 95 percent of the time.

"I sleep very well in the cart," she said.

She uses a sleeping bag and caribou hides to keep warm at night.

Rosie said she has had many adventures. "The feet have eyes," she said.

She has met many interesting people, too.

"I am very much inspired by the people I meet. They are all beautiful and I want to thank them," she said. "I think of everybody all the time."

Rosie said she is very grateful for all the help she has received from people during her travels.

"The journey does not belong to me. It belongs to everyone that helped me," she said.

When Rosie arrived in Park Rapids she stayed one night at the home of Duane Gebhard, who helped her settle into the Park Rapids area.

"I want to thank Pastor Duane. I am very happy I came this route," Rosie said. "People are wonderful here, so kind and so interesting. I believe in true human magic - I really do - Minnesota magic."

Rosie is a writer and a lecturer. Currently, she is writing a book and an article for "Runners World," the UK, European Edition.

"I give talks of all types, travel talks and talks to businesses about life being the biggest adventure, which is true," she said.

Rosie said she is looking forward to spending time in Park Rapids.

"I love Park Rapids already," said Rosie.

Rosie has a Web site that has updates of her journey. For more information about her travels, the Web site is www.rosiearoundtheworld .

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