The Yorkshirewoman reflects on her Double Paddy Buckley Round in Wales last month
Ultra-distance fell runner Nicky Spinks says she hopes her achievements, including her recent feat of becoming the first person to complete a Double Paddy Buckley Round, will prove an inspiration to all runners, particularly women.
The Yorkshire farmer, who has survived cancer and gone on to run a Double Bob Graham Round in England and Double Charlie Ramsay Round in Scotland, completed the trilogy last month when she took on two circuits of the 61-mile, 47-peak loop Paddy Buckley in Wales. The Snowdonia circuit has 28,000ft of ascent and she covered it in 57 hours and 27 minutes.
Spinks, who has raised more than £19,000 for cancer charity Odyssey, said: “Since finishing the Double Paddy Buckley, I have felt an immense sense of contentment. With the Double Charlie Ramsay and the Double Paddy Buckley I experienced new types of ‘low points’ and they lasted for a long time.
“Coming out the other side of the lows on both rounds and continuing on to enjoy and finish the Doubles has shown me that I am capable of bigger things than I thought possible. Being the first woman, I hope that many women around the world are just thinking ‘If she can do that, then maybe I can do what I would love to do to’.”
Having completed sub-24 hour ‘standard’ rounds of all three classics on multiple occasions, she decided to do a Double Bob Graham Round to mark 10 years of surviving cancer.
“The Double Bob Graham came about because I wanted something special to celebrate surviving 10 years of cancer. After the DBG went so well, the idea of doing the Double Charlie Ramsay and the Double Paddy Buckley came into my head. The distances and the time on my feet were completely new areas that I hadn’t pushed myself to before. I’ve also never done anything that no one else has done before and so doing the three rounds as Double’s would mean that I not only had the record for one but technically for all three!”
Spinks set a new overall record for the Double Bob Graham Round (132 miles and 54,000ft of ascent). In 2016, she rounded all 42 Lake District peaks twice in a time of 45hrs 30mins, taking more than an hour off Roger Baumeister’s best from 1979.
In 2018, Nicky became the first person to complete a Double Ramsay Round in the Scottish mountains. Twice summitting each of the 24 peaks (23 of which are classed as Munros – Scottish mountains over 3,000ft), running over 116 miles and ascending over 28,500ft in 55hrs 56mins.
“I’m not a superhuman, natural athlete,” she said. “I started late in my thirties and have worked hard at training but also at managing myself. I’m not a full-time athlete who can train whenever I like. I have a full-time job and enjoy a beer. I hope that runners, and especially women, can see that it is possible to have a normal life and achieve what you think you can only ever dream about.”