Nicky Spinks has won or excelled in pretty much every ultrarunning race, challenge or event that matters in the UK.
One notable exception is that she’s yet to take part in the Winter Spine Race – but that will be put right over the next week as she tackles the 268-mile monster that is tagged as ‘Britain’s most brutal race’.
She heads into it on the back of a warm-up win at the Montane Cheviot Goat – in freezing conditions that she’s likely to encounter on the Pennine Way over the coming days.
After that she said: “It has shaken me up and given me the boost I needed to get on with Spine preparations.”
What is Nicky’s ‘Rule of 3’?
And judging by her Q&A this week with sponsor inov-8 it sounds like things have very much gone to plan since then.
First of all explaining why it’s taken so long to line up for a first Winter Spine she said: “I’ve wanted to do it for years but was always organising and running the Trigger race around the same time.
“I also watched Summit Fever Media’s film and that made me want to experience the race for myself.
“My own ‘Rule of 3’ is if you’ve thought of doing something three times, then now is the time to do it.”
Running her own race
And now the decision has been made to race – and months of training banked – she’s relishing getting underway, describing the start as “always manic” and the thing she’s least looking forward to.
“It [the training] has gone well overall but there have been some highs and lows. I just want to get started so I can figure out where I am.”
Asked about race tactics, she’s keeping it super simple: “Run my own race. Get to Hawes feeling good.”
“I’m looking forward to days and nights on the Pennine Way with just me, my pack and other Spine runners,” she added on Instagram before heading south for the start.
It’s harder than ever to pick favourites this year but the woman to beat would appear to be defending champion Claire Bannwarth who returns to Edale to kick off another packed schedule of the top ultra races.