Istanbul, December 20
A septuagenarian British adventurer today crossed Istanbul’s iconic Bosphorus Bridge on foot as part of a 9,600-km journey to support the people of Nepal.
Rosie Swale Pope, 73, the author of several books, including Just A Little Run Around the World, is running solo to support UK-based charity PHASE Worldwide, which empowers isolated communities in Nepal.
For her bridge run, she had to get special permission from Istanbul’s Governorship, as the Bosphorus Bridge is not normally open for foot crossings.
In November, Pope crossed the border from Greece into Turkey and earlier this month she crossed Istanbul’s Galata Bridge.
After a brief break in the UK, Pope is back in Istanbul to continue her foot voyage to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. She began her Istanbul trek from Yildiz Park in the Besiktas district and took lots of selfies along the way.
“I have lost a big bite of my heart in Istanbul, I love you,” she told Anadolu Agency Video News. “Deeply honoured and so excited, it’s a dream come true.”
“I am 73 years old, I broke my legs, my hip two years ago, but there is no finish line, we are all on one-way journey in life and we have to make the most of it and help each other,” Pope said.
“Here I go, I’m off again! I’m back in beautiful Istanbul and heading towards Bosphorus Bridge,” Rosie Swale Pope posted on Twitter along with a photo of her on the way to the looming bridge, spanning both sides of the Turkish metropolis. “Tesekkur to all my new friends here!” she added, using the Turkish word for thanks.
Declaring herself ‘over the moon’ minutes later she wrote, “First person ever to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot from Europe to Asia. The bridge is only open once a year for Istanbul Marathon (but other direction). Thank you so much!”
The British adventurer started her journey from London last July 2018 pulling food, fuel, stove, sleeping gear, clothing and solar panels to recharge electronics in a special carbon fibre cart. The charity runner also sleeps in the cart during her long run. She runs an average of 20 kilometres a day. Pope started her journey from Brighton in the UK to Kathmandu and jogged through European countries.
Turkey is the 13th country that she passed through. She aims to support a project to improve health, education and livelihood of local communities in Nepal, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2015.
A version of this article appears in print on December 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.