Ultra-running British icon Nicky Spinks is a living legend.
London-born Nicky moved to the Peak District when she was young and grew up on a farm, bringing with it a love for the outdoors, horse riding and, crucially, running.
She went on to discover a love for long-distances, and particularly fell-running in the northern peaks where she had spent so much time growing up.
2005 saw her complete the Bob Graham Round for the first time, ascending the Lake District’s highest 42 peaks within 24 hours. That started a love affair with Britain’s 24-hour round challenges that would see her performances go down in history.
But soon after completing the Graham for the first time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but she did have a mastectomy and subsequent reconstruction surgery, all of which got in the way of her running.
Yet Nicky Spinks would not let it stop her. Just three weeks after her operation, she was back up and running- literally.
She has gone on to produce a number of record times on various fell running challenges throughout Britain as well as achieved podium positions in a variety of races; her name is well and truly written into the history of British running.
Nicky Spinks has recently moved to Galloway in Scotland, but previously lived on a farm in Mirfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She is married to Steve Burgess.
She generally wears Inov-8 Packclaws, and is sponsored by the brand.
Nicky Spinks Records and Results
In 2012, Nicky Spinks set the women’s record for the Bob Graham for the first time. In 2013 she set the women’s Paddy Buckley record and then, in 2014, she set the women’s record for the Ramsay Round, Scotland’s answer to the Graham, and Buckley.
In doing so she became the first woman to hold all three records at once. Just shy of having the record for the lowest combined time across all three, she attempted to clinch the title when she re-did the Graham in 2015- she fell short, but once again set a new women’s record.
To celebrate her ten-year anniversary of surviving cancer, she completed a double Bob Graham in 2016. She set a new record for the feat by nearly an hour, becoming one of only four people in history to complete it within two days.
She then completed a double Ramsay in 2018 and then a double Buckley the following year, becoming the only person in history to ever complete them.
There’s plenty of other records to her name too; she has twice set the women’s record for the most Lakeland Peaks climbed in 24 hours, first at 64 and then 65 (although that has since been extended to 68 by Fi Pascall). She has also won the Jim Nelson Trophy at Fellsman four times.
In 2019 she partook in the infamous Barkley Marathon, attempting to become the first woman ever to complete it, however she failed to complete the course. She once again attempted the race in 2023 and completed a single loop.
Nicky Spinks’ major achievements have come from completing major fell-running challenges rather than competing in major ultra-running competitions, but she has still won a large number of events.
Her first victory in the women’s category at Fellsman came in 2010, and she has won it in 2011, 2012 and 2013 as well.
Other victories include two at Le Grand Raid Des Pyrénées twice, in 2010 and 2011, the 2018 Ultra-Trail Snowdonia, 2018 170km Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, the 2021 50 mile Lakes in a Day and the 100 miles Arc of Attrition.
At the 2021 Tor des Géants, Nicky Spinks came third in a time of 101:16:50.
She also completed the UTMB in 2016 and 2014, coming 16th and 12th respectively.
Nicky Spinks is married to Steve Burgess.
Nicky generally wears Inov-8 Packclaws
Nicky has recently moved to Galloway in Scotland, but previously lived on a farm in Mirfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Nicky Spinks is 56 having been born in April 1967