They may look a bit dowdy and plain, but they were truly amazing! Valerie Griffiths in her book "Not Less Than Everything: Courageous women who carried the Christian gospel to China" writes:
“Our bodies are hardened like tempered steel through exposure to such extreme temperatures.” The words conjure up a picture of young energetic sportsmen engaged in mountain climbing, ocean-sailing, or artic exploration. They scarcely bring to mind three middle-aged women, who had spent the first 20 years of their adult lives working in the structured, orderly activity of the girls’ school and women’s Bible college in Shanxi province. For only after that did Mildred Cable, with her two colleagues, Eva and Francesca French, embark on years of traveling the main trade route of Central Asia.
Middle-aged in this case meant 45, 51 and 54 - that's when they STARTED the hard trekking.
And when after 13 years of grueling adventures - hunger, thirst, pain, sleeplessness, stoning, and bandits - they finally retired to England they went on to live another interesting life.