Nicky Spinks Breaks Double Bob Graham Record

by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com May/2016
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Over the weekend of 14th-15th May Nicky Spinks completed a double Bob Graham Round, running the 66-mile route twice back-to-back in a new record time of 45 hours 30 minutes. She is only the second person ever to complete the double in under 48 hours (fourth overall), and the first female.

Raise, 5:43am, 132 kb
Raise, 5:43am
© Dan Bailey

Each of the 42 Lakeland fells on the standard round was climbed twice, a total height gain of around 54,000 feet and a distance of 132 miles - all without sleep, and seemingly fuelled largely on spicy beans and sausage.

Nicky beat Roger Baumeister’s long standing record of 46:36, set way back in 1979, by over one hour. Roger was there to offer support over the weekend and congratulations at the finish, along with fell running legend Joss Naylor. Soon to enter his 80s, Joss ran the leg over from Wasdale to Honister on the Sunday by way of encouragement.

Heading for Helvellyn, take one, 74 kb
Heading for Helvellyn, take one
© Dan Bailey

First time on Bowfell, 10:58am, 130 kb
First time on Bowfell, 10:58am
© Dan Bailey

Though starting in the dark she hit the ground running, and was soon a couple of hours ahead of her own schedule, a position she maintained throughout the two days despite the sometimes-hot weather.

Following the model set by Roger Baumeister the rounds were not completed in continuous loops but broken down into two out-and-back legs:

Starting from Keswick's Moot Hall at midnight on Friday, Nicky first tackled Skiddaw and the other northern fells before running down the Dodds, where dawn arrived at Raise. Helvellyn and Co, Fairfield and Seat Sandal then led to the road crossing at Dunmail Raise. After the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell, Esk Pike and the Scafells she descended to Wasdale before climbing Yewbarrow. This was the pivot point, at which she turned in her tracks and re-trod the leg all the way back to Keswick, which she reached in the very early hours of Sunday.

Sunday morning on Robinson, 152 kb
Sunday morning on Robinson
© Dan Bailey

Final pit stop at Honister, 142 kb
Final pit stop at Honister
© Dan Bailey

The other half of the loop then took her through the Newlands fells, Honister Pass, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Pillar, Steeple and Red Pike to Yewbarrow once more, where again she did a 180 and headed back to Keswick, arriving at the stroke of 9:30pm on Sunday night.  

She finished in style, still standing and still smiling. How do you celebrate an achievement this massive? Chips and curry.

Three legends: Naylor, Spinks and Baumeister, 116 kb
Three legends: Naylor, Spinks and Baumeister
© Dan Bailey

She's done it!, 114 kb
She's done it!
© Dan Bailey

  • The double marks ten years since Nicky was diagnosed with, and recovered from, breast cancer. She is raising money for cancer charity Odyssey -  for more details see JustGiving     
  • UKC/UKH were there all weekend to capture the action on camera, and a film will be released later in the year.

Nicky is sponsored by: Inov-8

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