Ultra-running icon Nicky Spinks and defending champion Simon Roberts claimed victory in the women’s and men’s 2023 Montane Cheviot Goat races at the weekend.
56-year-old Spinks produced a sensational performance to outpace the field by almost two hours over the 59-mile course in freezing cold conditions. A temperature of -5 degrees celcius greeted runners at the start with plenty of settled snow under foot.
In the men’s race it was 2022 winner Roberts who came out on top once again, defeating his nearest rival James Nobles by just over 12 minutes, with Sam Downing completing the podium a further 19 minutes off the pace.
Despite admitting she didn’t feel quite ready for the race, Spinks was able to produce an exceptional performance, especially over the second half of the course. It was Scotland’s Fiona Horsfield who led the early stages of the race, and remained in command until the 46km mark where she was overtaken by Spinks between Windy Gyle and The Cheviot.
From that point it was a one-women race as she relentlessly opened up an ever increasing gap to her Scottish rival. Her decision to remove ‘ice balls’ from her gaiters in the middle of the race made her feel ‘much lighter’ she admitted. This potentially contributed to her dominance from the mid-way point onward.
Spinks was joined on the second half of her run by David Hanna, Ewan Richardson and Marc Ward as the quartet worked together to tackle the tricky overnight stint before Ewan and herself broke away from the others in the final stages.
She completed the course in a time of 15:11:13, finishing in joint-seventh overall. She led early-contender Horsfield (17:09:35) over the line by one hour, 58 minutes and 22 seconds. England’s Louise Goddard was the third finisher over the line in a time of 18:41:09 – three hours, 29 minutes and 56 seconds behind Spinks.
Concluding on her race thoughts Spinks commented: “It has shaken me up and given me the boost I needed to get on with Spine preparations.”
In the men’s race there was a familiar winner as Simon Roberts retained the crown he had won 12 months earlier. The Welshman was one of seven runners who formed a lead group early on. James Nobles, James Largey, Matt Walker, James Chapman, Sam Downing and James Parsons joined Roberts in the lead group in opening hour of the race.
Roberts soon broke away from the pack, with Nobles and Largey leading the pursuit. The trio maintained a steady 1-2-3 through The Dodd, Barrowbun and Windy Gyle – with the latter dropping off the pace of the lead two. By The Cheviot, Roberts had opened up a commanding lead to Nobles, with Downing overtaking Largey to jump up onto the podium.
The front three would remain the same for the second half of the race, with Roberts completing the course in a time of 13:04:06. Nobles (13:16:16) followed 12 minutes and 10 second later, with Downing third over the line in 13:35:17.
2023 Montane Cheviot Goat final results
- Simon Roberts (WAL) – 13:04:06
- James Nobles (ENG) – 13:16:16
- Sam Downing (ENG) – 13:35:17
- Nicky Spinks (ENG) – 15:11:13
- Fiona Horsfield (SCO) – 17:09:35
- Louise Goddard (ENG) – 18:41:09
Full results available here.