Interview with Ultra Runner Nicky Spinks

Nicky Spinks on a mountain trail

On 9 July, myRaceKit had the pleasure to catch-up with Nicky Spinks. myRaceKit supports Nicky’s Fell race Trigger (www.marsdentoedale.co.uk) which next takes place in January 2020. We also spoke about Nicky’s previous running experiences.

Q: What races have you done so far in 2019?

Nicky Spinks (NS): This year, I have run the Barkley Marathon in Tennessee and the double Paddy Buckley Round.

Q: What are your future plans for the year and 2020?

NS: I plan to tackle Tor des Géants in September. It is the first time I will try this race as I have previously run either Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB)  or Ultra Tour Monte Rosa (UTMR) around the same time. The race was recommended to me as scenic and I like to try something new.

Q: How did you prepare for the historic double Paddy Buckley Round?

NS: I visited Wales a lot doing double back-to-back training runs being out 10 to 12 hours per day.  I did the same the following day. In Fell running, you choose your own route instead of following a set trail so trying out the route is important. Nobody had done a double Paddy Buckley Round before – man or woman. I had a crew on the top of each fell and I had my tracker on me to be able to show my route. You have to submit your run results to Paddy Buckley to get acknowledged to have completed the Paddy Buckley Round.

Q: What is the biggest difference between Fell racing and mountain racing?

NS: In Fell racing, you pick your own route, in trail running you run along a trail. I like the diversity of sometimes navigating and sometimes following a trail where you can focus on the running. I do one race of each type per season but always mountain races.

Q: Last year you won the 170km UTMR, what do you think of the race?

NS: I really enjoyed the UTMR. It is a quiet alpine race. The route is beautiful, it is a smaller race and much less crowded than UTMB. You can be alone on the trails and experience nature in an organised setting.

Q: What are your top three equipment pieces for Fell and mountain racing?

NS:

  1. You need good shoes for the mountains. I like shoes with claws and specialist trail shoes. Your feet must be comfortable!
  2. Rucksack. You need a rucksack that you are familiar with and know each pocket making it easy to find items. The rucksack should have an excellent fit causing no rubbing or chafing.
  3. Clothes. Long races require the right clothing to keep warm and safe. On the Fell, the temperature difference can be 10C between day and night. In the Alps, it is more extreme. It could be above 20C day time and close to 0C night time. For both, you need long sleeves and leggings for night time, a good waterproof and light-weight jacket and a warm underlayer. For me, hat and gloves are also musts.

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