How To Travel, Get Fit and Raise Money For Charity? Go On A Trek

In November 2023, a group of fundraisers traveled to Costa Rica to participate in a walk to raise funds for MQ Mental Health Research. The 2023 trip raised a total of £42,104.39, money which will go towards funding vital research into mental illness.

Taking on a challenge can be positive for mental wellbeing and traveling often can also be positive for mental health, but when travelling, combined with taking on a challenge, also raises vital funds for mental health research, the benefits for us all they shoot up.

MQ’s Mark Drain, pictured above in the center and who took part in the walk, tells us about the experience, the preparation required and how you can have a similar experience yourself in 2024.


Mark, tell us about the hike. That sounds fantastic!

The walk was part of our year-long charity partnership with Deutsche Bank. We had 20 staff sign up and take part and as a representative of the charity I had the great privilege of taking part in this once in a lifetime experience.

The walk took us 5 days, we traveled 87km through many different terrains, through jungles, rivers, 4×4 roads ending at the beach.

I highly recommend going to Costa Rica as a country to visit, I have never taken so many landscape photos. Every turn we took there was a new view that was spectacular.


Where did you go during the walk?

We flew to San José in Costa Rica and on day 2North Dakota The day we drove to our starting point was Cerro Frío, just under 3500 meters above sea level. It was an amazing place to start the hike with views for miles, over the next 5 days we descended to sea level but also climbed another 2000 meters so we ended up descending just over 5000 meters to Dominical, a lovely little Coast town. .



What were the highlights of the experience?

There were so many highlights on this trip that it’s hard to narrow them down. However, what really stands out for me is the team who were incredible, truly some of the best and kindest people I have ever met. Everyone was very encouraging and motivating, while also having a connection to anyone with mental health.

The other highlight was finishing the hike. After all the jungles, the mud, the river crossings, it was amazing to end up on the Pacific Ocean beach in Dominical.


Were there any low points and how did you train?

For me personally, there weren’t many low points in the trip. There were a couple of difficult moments on day day that was the longest and hardest of the walk. We had 2 very steep climbs in 32 degree heat and 90% humidity, so halfway up the 2North Dakota Climbing started to affect me. But the team of people I was with was able to keep me motivated and that’s how I got ahead.

Training for this hike was a little difficult since where I live is very flat, so I decided to walk every weekend, but do 6-9 miles to get my feet miles in for the long days ahead. The team planned a walk around the South Downs and London, which was well attended and began to generate great team spirit.


What was the rest of the group like?

All of the hikers on this particular excursion work at Deutsche Bank. About half of the group had done previous hikes, so they already knew each other. Those who hadn’t hiked before took it all in stride and felt at home with everyone.

The group was incredible, the team spirit was incredible and I was very proud to be part of this team.

Participants of the hike cross a river in the jungle.


Would you take another walk?

I would 100% do another hike, it’s an incredible experience that I hope to have again. There are few places I would like to go because I have already been researching them. You will be able to visit parts of the world that are not filled with tourists and experience the culture of all these wonderful countries.


If anyone reading this wants to take a trip or raise money for MQ Mental Health Research in another way, what advice would you give them?

We have another hike in 2024, this time in Iceland. If you would like to take part in our future walks, please visit the MQ website or fill out the form here.

The advice I would give to future hikers is to make sure you have comfortable clothing and shoes, plenty of snacks, and most importantly, just do it! There is no better feeling than completing a challenge like this.

However, if a hike isn’t for you, you can participate in a running event or host your own event.

Whatever you choose, we will be available to help you on your journey.


Thanks to Mark for sharing his story. You can find out more about fun ways to raise money for MQ Mental Health by clicking this link here.

The post How to travel, get fit and raise money for charities? Go On A Trek first appeared on MQ Mental Health Research.

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