Local Heroes: Yvonne Booth 10 in 10 challenge

We know that Keswick is more than just a pretty face, which is why we’re celebrating more than just its amazing landscape with our Local Heroes series.

In the coming months, we’re going to be celebrating the Local Heroes in and around Keswick, admiring the incredible work they do and finding out a little bit more about them.

For the first post in our Local Heroes series, we have had the pleasure of talking to Yvonne Booth, founder of the ever-popular 10in10 challenge.

Each year, the 10in10 challenge sees hundreds of fundraisers climb 10 mountains in 10 hours - there is also the option to tackle 5 mountains in 5 hours with the 5in5 challenge.

Duncan, Yvonne’s husband, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2011 and has taken on several challenges in order to raise funds for MS research - including jumping out of an aeroplane 10 times! In response, Yvonne created the 10in10 challenge and has so far raised an enormous £341,000 for the MS Society UK.

This cause has really grabbed our attention, so we caught up with Yvonne to find out all about how she organises the 10in10, how its success has impacted her family, and much more.

How has the success of 10in10 impacted the lives of you and your family?

The success of the 10in10 has impacted our lives considerably. It gives us a huge focus each year and it is something that our whole family can be involved in at different levels. We have made lots of new friends and are inspired by the effort that participants go to to help us raise so much money for the MS Society and MS Research.

How much planning and preparation goes into the annual 10in10 and 5in5 events?

I generally get a month off, after the Annual 10in10 and 5in5 in June, then the planning and preparation have to start again. I am kept busy all year round with our No Cure, Always Hope, Ultra Run. Both Dunc and I like to go and meet participants when they take on  Challenges. It usually involves meeting them halfway round a route with a snack and or a drink or at the pub afterwards.

Do you remember the moment that 10in10 was born in your mind? Did you realise that it would ever be as successful as it is today?

When Duncan was diagnosed with MS, we were desperate and didn't really know which way to turn. However, after about 6 months, I took Duncan's lead and started to think about what we can do and that is when the idea of the 10in10 came about. Duncan immediately wanted to do some fundraising in the form of jumping out of an aeroplane 10 times.

So that was his first challenge, he went on to do many more such as swimming across 10 lakes, climbing the Old Man of Hoy, to name a few. Dunc and I had spent most of our time together in the mountains in the Lake District and abroad, and we wanted to pass on our passion for the outdoors to others and to hopefully inspire our children. I had a plan to raise as much money as possible and help find a cure for MS.

I also vowed not to stop until a cure was found. At this point, we had no idea how successful the events would become and how much money would be raised. The fact that our friends and people from across the country and world love the challenges gives us a lot of pleasure. Dunc is unable to walk on the fells now, so it’s great to see so many others doing it for him and at the same time, achieving great things for themselves. Dunc has a real zest for life and will turn his hand to anything he can do.

What advice would you give to a family which is beginning to be affected by MS?

Everybody deals with life-changing circumstances in different ways. I guess just try to stay as strong and positive as possible, talk about MS together and don't try to hide what MS is to your family. Also, learn to ask for help to make life easier. Having a sense of humour and faith has helped us!

What advice would you give to someone who will be attempting their first 10in10 in 2018?

Come along and join in. It is an extremely friendly and supportive event. Most people know somebody with MS and understand how it affects their daily lives.

Do the challenge for them and help us find a cure. If you are unsure of the distance, do the 5 peaks challenge. We will have marshals on the peaks for 10 hours, so you will have plenty of time to complete it. We don't time people, it is a challenge, not a race.

Just enjoy the day, eat well, get out and do some training and be positive. If you can walk and are determined then this challenge is for you. There are beautiful views and cakes on the peaks. What more could you want?

For more information on exciting events in and around Keswick, take a look at our What’s On page.