A cancer survivor has celebrated 10 years since her diagnosis by completing a record-breaking 132-mile fell running challenge.
Farmer Nicky Spinks, 49, of Mirfield, found a lump on her breast and had a mastectomy in 2006 – but was back running within three weeks.
And to mark the anniversary milestone, renowned fell runner Nicky set herself her toughest test to date, a double run across the Lake District’s highest peaks – inside 48 hours.
Nicky achieved the feat becoming only the second person ever to do it as well as the fastest, shaving almost an hour off the previous best.
Inspirational Nicky, who raised almost £10,000 for a cancer charity at the same time, said: “I want to spread the word there is life after cancer.
“I wanted to challenge myself and this seemed like a good way of doing it.”
Nicky’s challenge involved a 66-mile fell run known as the Bob Graham Round, named after a Keswick guesthouse owner who broke the Lakeland Fell record by crossing 42 fells within a 24-hour period in 1932. Nicky didn’t just do it once, however, she did it twice.
Watch the moment Nicky crossed the finish line
Video credit: inov-8.com
The endurance test started at midnight on Friday in Keswick and finished at the same spot at 9.30pm on Sunday, some 46 hours and 34 minutes later. It meant running in the dark with a head torch.
Nicky, a runner since 2001, said she wanted to show other cancer patients that a diagnosis wasn’t the end.
She told how she found a lump in June 2006 and a biopsy diagnosed breast cancer. She had a breast removed but the cancer hadn’t spread and she didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
“I can’t say I was lucky but I didn’t need further treatment and I was back out running within three weeks,” she said.
Some pre-cancerous cells were found in 2012 and Nicky underwent a hysterectomy but again she was back out inside three weeks.
“Being a farmer and being fit and active really helped my recovery,” she said.
“When I was first diagnosed with cancer all I could come across were depressing stories until I found one where someone talked about living for 10 years after cancer, and I kept going back to it.
“I hope that if someone is diagnosed with cancer now they will see it is not the end of their life. The treatments nowadays are very advanced and you must have hope.”
Nicky said cancer patients should set themselves small targets by putting treats in their diary and celebrate milestones when they reach them.
Nicky’s Lake District challenge is raising money for Odyssey, a charity which helps adults rebuild their lives and confidence after cancer.
She easily surpassed her £6,500 target and has almost reached £10,000. She has now lifted the target to £15,000 and hopes the money will go towards a minibus.
Lee Procter, a spokesman for Nicky’s sponsors Inov-8, a fell running clothing and equipment firm, said hundreds turned up to cheer her back to the finish line in Keswick as word spread of her feat on social media.
“Nicky is just amazing,” he said. “She just wants to show there is life and hope after cancer.”
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Nicola-SPINKS1