OXFORD GP Catharine Benson is setting a good example in her 50th year by tackling the country’s most famous charity bike rides.
Dr Benson, from Oxford, has been a GP at 27 Beaumont Street since 1993 and since turning 50 she has has completed the 94-mile London Revolution Ride in May (for Dementia UK) and the 54-mile London to Brighton overnight ride in June, for the British Heart Foundation.
On Sunday she takes on the 90-mile Oxford to Cambridge Ride, also in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
She said: “As a local GP I am all too aware how common heart disease is.
“Each year heart disease is responsible for one in three deaths and many more people are disabled or have their lives changed by heart disease, not just the affected patients, but their families, friends and the community.
“I have first-hand experience of this because my stepfather Mike Wood, who lives in Yorkshire, had a huge heart attack out of the blue in 2010.
“Fortunately he survived and British Heart Foundation-funded nurses helped him to rehabilitate, to the extent that just over two years later he is still active, driving a car, riding a scooter and flying gliders at the age of 81.”
Dr Benson added: “I also want to meet these cycling challenges for my own fitness.
“I turned 50 this year and am doing this series of bike rides for different charities to help keep my own heart healthy and to practice what I preach at least a little as a GP.”
The Oxford to Cambridge Bike Ride starts in Oxford, and traces a 90-mile route through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, into the Cambridgeshire fenlands before ending in Cambridge.
Dr Benson said: “I love cycling – although I am by no means an athlete.
“And I am hoping that the Oxford to Cambridge route will have a nice following wind – as the last two rides I have done have had prevailing winds, and that is tough.
“I’m hoping the ride will take me around 12 hours to complete and that with sponsorship my cousin and I have raised on our previous rides, we could get up to about £4,000 for good causes this year.”
Dr Benson doesn’t intend to stop cycling when she reaches Cambridge either.
“I have signed up for the Caledonian Challenge next March. My body may be getting less forgiving, but I’m determined to keep myself fit and do my best to help some of our great charities.”
lDr Benson can be sponsored via justgiving.com/DrCath-forBHF