Belinda's Trek across the Jordan Desert to Petra - Raising Funds for Young Gloucestershire


Belinda Wilson, director of and, has set out on a "Bizarre Biathlon" to raise funds for the charity Young Gloucestershire.





On 10th February 2022, she started a challenge that will take most of 2022 to complete!


UPDATE Friday 17th June 2022. Belinda's Biathlon just got a bit more Bizarre!


Here I am on with Dominic Cotter on BBC Gloucestershire discussing Belinda's Bizarre Biathlon and announcing the next part of my challenge for Young Gloucestershire!
Having swum to Heathrow Airport from Cheltenham (6,200 lengths of the pool), I have realised that there is a long queue and the flight has been cancelled (joke!) so I am going to walk to Amman (capital of Jordan) instead of fly.
It is 4559 km to walk there and I obviously can't walk that far before my real trek to Petra in the desert in October, so I am going to walk 455.9km = 285 miles before I start the real trek.
Bizarre - yes! Bonkers - maybe!?
You can donate on



UPDATE Monday 13th June 2022: Belinda has today completed her Cheltenham to Heathrow swim. 

155 km = 95 miles

155,000 metres = 6,200 lengths

80 swims in just over 4 months - ranging from 20 lengths a session (coming back after covid) to 130 lengths (the furthest she has ever swum in one go!)

Heathrow 2 600

"When I started on 10th February 2022, I was getting up to swim in the dark and having to defrost the car to go at 7am most mornings! To finish on 13th June 2022, when it is gloriously light and nearly midsummer makes all the difference!

But the really important thing is that my endeavours are helping fund the team at Young Gloucestershire to help young people with their mental health and to cope with life in very challenging times. 

I would really like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far as we know that the money is going direct to help young people in our community.

Watch this space for another challenge before I head out to trek to Petra in October."

Here is the sponsor link:




First she is going to swim to Heathrow Airport and then she is going to trek across the desert to Petra in Jordan.

The first part of the "Bizarre Biathlon" involves swimming the 155km (95 mile) distance from her home in Cheltenham to Heathrow Airport. The distance will be mostly swum at CLC Sports Centre in Cheltenham, with extra distance being totted up a Cheltenham Lido and Lake 86, South Cerney (when the weather warms up a little.) It should take about 4 months to complete.

Swim Photo 600


The second part of the "Bizarre Biathlon" will find Belinda spending 8 days in Jordan, which includes swimming (or floating?!) in the Dead Sea and spending 5 days trekking across the desert by day and camping by night, to arrive in the ancient city of Petra.

petra smile 600


Young Gloucestershire (YG) is a youth-work charity working across the County supporting disadvantaged young people (aged 11-25) who face challenges in their lives including poor mental-health, unemployment, exclusion from school, or those who are at risk from exploitation.


Your donation to Young Gloucestershire:

£5        would provide lunch for a week to a young person on a programme

£20      provides a Stagecoach weekly Megarider pass for a young person

£50      could provide a young person with a first aid or food-hygiene qualification


Belinda Wilson, director of and www.glos.infosays:

"I have wanted to raise funds for Young Gloucestershire ever since I first found out all about YG and had a tour of their previous premises with Tracy Clark, CEO, in 2018. Then the opportunity arose for me to trek to Petra with a friend. I did not need to think twice about which charity I was going to support. As the Petra trek was delayed a year because of covid, I realised that I have more time to fund raise, whilst training for the challenge. As  I am a keen swimmer, it seemed to make sense (at the time at least!!) to set myself the challenge to swimming to Heathrow to catch the plane for the trek."


Tracy Clark, CEO Young Gloucestershire and Infobuzz says:
"Belinda, we are so grateful for all you are doing. Young Gloucestershire ask young people to challenge themselves each day to change their story for the better, you challenging yourself with swimming and walking is a great way to raise fund to enable us to be able to support those young people! Read more about the young people we support here."


Keep up to date with regular updates including maps of the distance completed on Just Giving here.

To view the spreadsheet with the most up to date distance, visit Google docs.

Update Friday 22nd April 2022

LOOK AT THIS PHOTO and tell me…What do you see? 👀
What I am doing in my swim suit at Membury Services on the M4??!! 🤩
A few weeks ago I was celebrating the fact that I reached Membury Services in Belinda’s Bizarre Biathlon charity swim 🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏻‍♀️🎉🎉
Well due to the untimely arrival of covid, I was stuck there for 2 weeks living on Whoppers and KFC and then it took me another 2 weeks to get back up to pace. I am now passed Junction 14 and well on the way to Junction 13 on the M4.
Thank you for all your support!

PS. This photo is photoshopped - of course!! 




By Thursday 17th February 2022, Belinda had swum 10km to Birdlip.



Update: Monday 28th February 2022


Belinda's Bizarre Biathlon update: Yesterday I swam past Travelodge Hotel Cirencester and my next target is Lake 86 Open Water Swimming, which I should reach later in the week. So I have already swum 30 of the 155 km to Heathrow Airport that I am doing for Young Gloucestershire.
Once I have completed the swim the next step will be the Trek to Petra!




£530 so far! Thank you...

In case you are wondering how the swim for Belinda's Bizarre Biathlon is going, I am just getting on with it every day in the background and did 100 lengths this morning which means that I am now on the M5!! Joined at Junction 15 at Swindon and heading off towards Membury Services. I get to all the glamorous locations!!
So I am 59 km into my 155km swim, as you can see here:
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, I am sure Young Gloucestershire are very pleased to be receiving all that money, when folks are being so generous to Ukraine too.


Thank you for your support!


Click here to donate to Belinda's Bizarre Biathlon for Young Gloucestershire

More details about Belinda's Trek across the Jordan Desert to Petra - Raising Funds for Young Gloucestershire (External Link)


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