In 2016, the inspirational Nicky Spinks made fell running history by becoming the fastest person to run a Double Bob Graham Round. The 49-year-old cancer-survivor marked 10 years post-diagnosis by running the 132-mile Lake District route. It includes around 54,000ft of ascent. Nicky did it in a time of 45 hours and 30 minutes. She took over an hour off the previous record set in 1979 by Roger Baumeister. Roger was there in person to support Nicky during her attempt.
Joss Naylor: “She’s got two legs like my own left leg, just the same. We could run forever, climb anything.”
Roger Baumeister: “It’s a personal challenge. You weren’t doing it to get any particular recognition at the time.”
Nicky Spinks: “My legs, everything, just swelled up and I felt really run down. I got every infection under the sun and then it was about a month later, early June when Steve found the lump in my breast.”
Steve Spinks: “But what she’s doing it’s sort of, we don’t know. She’s not even halfway and you keep on forgetting that.”
Joss Naylor: “You get some people who don’t recover from these things fully like”
Nicky Spinks: “You have to come to terms with the fact that you might not be coming back.”
What is a Bob Graham Round?
Starting and finishing in Keswick, a standard Bob Graham Round involves a 66-mile circuit of 42 summits. It includes 27,000ft of elevation gain and has to be completed in less than 24 hours. Nicky, a farmer from Yorkshire, did all that twice. She became only the second person after Roger – and the first woman – to go sub-48 hours. Her achievement gained widespread national media attention.
Prior to her record-run, the longest period of time Nicky had run for was 36 hours. Entering into unchartered territory, she pushed her body and mind to their limits. She endured countless highs and lows. She was supported throughout by family and friends, including fell running legend Joss Naylor.
Nicky was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She underwent treatment and made a strong recovery. Since then she has set multiple fell and ultra running records across the UK and placed high in some of Europe’s toughest races.