Jenny Langdon has trekked all over the
world for us, raised thousands of pounds, and is now the official
doctor for our Overseas Challenges. Here she talks about her
experiences of trekking, fundraising and everything in
I started trekking in 2005. Since then I have trekked 13 times,
including Machu Picchu in Peru,
the Sinai Dessert, Kilimanjaro, Cuba,
Petra Iceland and Everest Base
Camp. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's
safe to say I had no idea what I was getting in to.
A chance to get fit
A mail shot from the British Heart Foundation came to the surgery
advertising a trek along the Great Wall of
China. I thought that this had everything; a chance to get fit;
to face a huge challenge; to meet other people of like mind; and to
raise money for a worthy cause.
I am an NHS GP and I run the heart disease clinic at a surgery.
I have worked in the Cardiology Department at the Hospital for many
years, so the British Heart Foundation is close to my heart.
I signed up for the China trek, started going to the gym, bought
some hiking boots and got started. I even started to learn Mandarin
Chinese, listening to tapes in the car. This was already a life
changing event, & I was getting fitter by the day, losing
weight & feeling great.
Fundraising was the next challenge. I put up signs in the surgery
so patients would know what I was up to. I drafted a letter to send
out to everyone I'd ever worked with & everyone I'd ever known
to tell them about what I was doing. I contacted the
local paper and they came to take my picture for an article.
When you sign up to an Overseas Challenge with the BHF you
have to raise a minimum
sponsorship which covers the cost of the tour, but this is only
a proportion of the fundraising with at least half going directly
to the work of the BHF. It was so inspiring to see how generous
people were and once I got going I’d hit my target before I knew
it. I have done lots of treks and it always amazes me how much
money we can raise for such a great cause.
China was a fabulous experience and was truly life changing. I met
some amazing people who were all there for different reasons, but
all there for the same cause. We learnt so much about China from
our Chinese guides, and walked with locals on part of the Wall, so
I got to try out my Mandarin. The walking was challenging & we
were led by a very able Trek Leader who was older than us but also
Choosing the overseas challenge for you
People often ask which was my favourite challenge, but they are all
so different it's impossible to say. You bond rapidly with your
fellow trekkers and make friends for life. You will come back a
different person, with a new outlook on life, a sense of
achievement and a renewed confidence. You don't get any of that
from a package holiday.
I have also started running and have now done 4 London Marathons
and 3 of my children have now started running too.
We now raise money in the old way and by collecting from
underground stations in London and holding events for friends and
family. This year my son and partner ran two marathons in one week.
My best friend decided to run, having always said she could never
run that far, but she was a trekker, so she had that can do
attitude. The team raised over £10,000, which was amazing.
Don't let age put you off
I did my first trek age 55, and my first marathon age 57, so don't
let age put you off! Inspire your friends, change your own life,
raise money for a fantastic cause and save lives at the same time.
It's an unbeatable combination, but beware, it can become