Nicky Spinks has run a double Paddy Buckley Round, in a total time of 57 hours 27 minutes.
The classic North Wales challenge completes her trio of double rounds on the UK's big three, following a double Ramsay Round in July 2018 and her double Bob Graham in 2016. She is the only person to have ever run a double on all these routes, a hat trick that must count as one of the great sporting achievements of recent times.
Nicky had hoped to finish in under 48 hours, but in the circumstances just finishing at all is remarkable - her eventual time was 57:27 (precise time tbc).
Over two gruelling days Nicky, 51, covered around 122 miles and roughly 56,000ft of ascent on 94 peaks (2x47). Starting at Capel Curig on Friday, she ran the route first in an anti-clockwise direction, before turning around and doing it all again clockwise. As on her previous doubles, a dedicated support team proved critical in terms of logistics, pacing and general moral support.
Her achievement comes on the back of a lot of training in the Welsh hills. In March she also ran in the notoriously difficult Barkley Marathon, where she was the joint last woman standing (nobody completed the course this year).
Speaking on sponsor Inov-8's blog ahead of this week's effort, she said: "I've always wanted to complete the trilogy of the doubles and, for me, I have left the most important one until last. The Paddy Buckley Round is where it all really started."
"After completing the Bob Graham Round in 2005 and finding it within my capabilities, I looked at the Paddy Buckley Round. Although about the same distance and climb as the Bob Graham Round, I knew it would be a much harder challenge, mainly because the mountains are so rocky and there is no 'easy' leg to finish on. I attempted it in May 2006 in awful weather conditions. I somehow managed to stay only 20 minutes down on schedule until the last hill (Cnicht), where the wheels fell off completely. I staggered to the finish in 25hrs 45mins. One month later I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I still, however, had unfinished business with the Paddy Buckley Round and in 2007, while still recovering from the cancer and reconstruction operations, I successfully completed it in under 24 hours (23:55).
"I feel that the Paddy Buckley Round is where I really started my running career and, for me, it's in these mountains that I want to finish the trilogy of double rounds on a high note."
It's safe to say she's done just that.
Nicky's double Bob Graham Round was the subject of our film Run Forever:
It has been a big few days for running on the Welsh hills, in addition to Nicky's herculean effort, with new records for Finlay Wild on the Welsh 3000ers and the Snowdon Horseshoe.
The UK's Big Three
Paddy Buckley Round
A 61 mile circuit of 47 Snowdonian summits, the round was devised by Paddy Buckley but first run in under 24 hours by Martin Stone in 1985. The route includes the Carneddau, the Glyderau, the Snowdon range, the Moelwynion and the Moel Hebog range. For more details check out runner Bob Wightman's website.
Bob Graham Round
Done as a sub-24 hour push the Bob Graham round of 42 Lakeland peaks (including the four 3000-ers) is one of the toughest fell runner's challenges in the country. Wearing tennis shoes and fuelled on bread and butter the man himself set the bar high way back in 1932 and his time of 23 hours 39 minutes stood for 28 years. See the Bob Graham Club website for more.
An extension of an earlier effort by Philip Tranter, Charlie Ramsay's route covers 24 Lochaber Munros over around 60 miles, including Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, the Grey Corries, the Easains and Loch Treig Munros and the whole Mamores ridge. Ramsay just scraped inside 24 hours in 1978. More info at the Ramsay's Round site.
- Through her many running challenges to date Nicky has raised more than £18,000 for Odyssey, a charity that helps people with cancer regain their self-confidence and enjoyment of life through a variety of activities. Her next target is to reach £20,000. You can help by donating on Nicky's JustGiving page.