Weekend Warm-Up: How a Middle-Aged Cancer Survivor Made Mountain Running History

Mountain
Nicky Spinks on Bowfell. Photo: Dan Bailey.

Fell running originated around 1,000 years ago in the hills and mountains of the UK. Also known as mountain running, hill running or trail running, it’s become popular around the globe.

The Bob Graham Round is one of the blue ribbon events of fell running. Participants have to run up 42 mountains in England’s Lake District within 24 hours. It’s named after a local hotelier from the 1930s who put in a record time for that challenge, which was already ongoing in that era.

In May 2016, Nicky Spinks, a 49-year-old farmer and cancer survivor, completed a double Bob Graham, becoming only the second person, and the first female, to do the double in under 48 hours. Her time still ranks fourth overall.

In climbing each of the 42 Lakeland mountains twice, she covered over 212 kilometres and put in a vertical distance of 16,500 meters, all without sleep and fueled by baked beans and sausages!

This video tells the story of how this middle-aged amateur athlete broke fell running history.

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer with a PhD in Exercise Science. He lives in the UK and has also written for Rock and Ice, Outside, UK Climbing etc. He recently led a 634km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. See more at www.ashrouten.com.

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