A DEDICATED doctor is swapping her stethoscope for running shoes to raise money to train medics overseas.

Fran Fieldhouse, who is a GP at Abingdon Surgery, plans to run the 67-mile length of the Oxfordshire Way over two weekends in April and May. The money she raises will go to Virtual Doctors, a charity that provides specialist advice remotely to healthcare workers in rural Africa.

She said: “I picked this particular challenge because I like running and it acts as a metaphor for the distance some people have to travel for medical treatment.

“In rural Africa patients often walk miles to their local health centre.

"Once there the healthcare worker may not have the knowledge or skills to treat their condition, requiring ongoing travel to an even more distant hospital.”

The mother-of-two has been involved with the charity for four years and has produced podcasts to give advice on topics such as how to spot pneumonia.

Explaining her desire to get involved, she said: “I worked in Zambia about 16 years ago. I really enjoyed what I was doing but I realised I was just a stop gap and would like to get involved in some way with educating local people.

“There is a lot of ‘brain drain’ in these countries so this is about training up those who are there.”

The 45-year-old proved her dedication to her challenge last week, braving the recent snowfall to go for a 13 mile practice run through the Oxfordshire countryside.

The West Oxford GP said: “I didn’t realise how bad it was until I went to drink my energy drink and realised it was frozen.

“On the plus side, every run since has felt easy by comparison.”

She has already raised almost £1,000, which was her original target, in just a week and said now the goal was to reach £5,000.

She said: “Because it is such a small charity I know exactly how much that money will help and I’m so grateful for everyone who has already supported me. It will make a massive difference.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/franfieldhouse