Kosovo’s 100 km Trail of Hope will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Kosovo War and the tenth anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence.
Hundreds of people have signed up to participate in the Trail of Hope, a 22-hour trail-running event between March 3 and 4 that goes through parts of central and western Kosovo that were impacted by the 1998-99 war. The run is being organized in honor of the tenth anniversary of the country’s independence and the twentieth commemoration of the Kosovo War.
Although the full length of the trail is 100 km, the first of its kind in Kosovo, it is divided into four segments of different lengths and difficulties.
“It goes through parts of the country that were significant during the war: refugee paths, resistance points. It starts in Prekaz at the Jashari family memorial, continues through Gllogjan, and ends in Koshare at the memorial complex,” said Arineta Mula, executive director of the Kosova Trail Running Association, KTRA, which is organizing the event.
The trail itself represents a trajectory of the Kosovo War: After starting at the site of the 1998 attack against the Jashari family, it continues to Likoshan, another site of confrontation between the Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbian forces. Continuing to Gllogjan, runners will pass through the memorial complex dedicated to the battle that occurred in the village in 1999, and the journey will come to an end in Koshare, the site of the last battle between the KLA and Yugoslav forces in April 1999. Participants will hold a moment of silence in honor of the war’s victims.
Of the registered participants, 154 will run for the whole 100-km segment between Prekaz and Koshare, 94 for the 14-km segment between Prekaz and Likoshan, 60 for 21-km segment between Gllogjan and Koshare, and 20 for the 50-km segment between Klina and Koshare.
There will be 10 stations throughout the trail that will provide food, water, medical assistance and other services to the participants, with every pause being less than one hour long. The runners are scheduled to start out at 1:00 pm on Saturday from Prekaz and finish in Koshare at 11:00 am on Sunday.
Municipal officials, the Kosovo Police, the Kosovo Security Forces and KFOR will oversee and aid the participants as they make their way through the trail.
“The schedule does not include space for sleeping because it will be a challenge to experience what others before us did,” Mula said.
In addition to the medals that all participants will receive, runners of the 50 km and 100 km segments will be given handmade necklaces by women of the Center for the Promotion of Women’s Rights in Drenas.
“Every necklace was crafted by women who survived the Kosovo War who never cease to work towards the recovery of families and the country,” Mula explained.
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