Dragon slayer! Charity champion Nicky tackles 200 mile run

RUNNING ON Nicky Spinks, who completed the Dragon's Belly. (d318a334)
RUNNING ON Nicky Spinks, who completed the Dragon's Belly. (d318a334)
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Ten cancer patients will get a break from their battle with the illness thanks to the incredible efforts of Nicky Spinks and her friends.

Together they ran the length of Wales in just five days, raising more than £6,500 for charity.

The 200-mile Dragon’s Belly challenge is enough to test any runner to the limits, but Nicky had a very personal reason for tackling the course.

She underwent several operations after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

“Having cancer really knocks your confidence,” she said. “It’s all that uncertainty and wondering ‘why me?’

“I found it was really good to talk to other people who had cancer.”

Nicky, 46, started running races to raise money for cancer charities after she got the all-clear.

And when she heard about the work of Odyssey, she decided to so something special to support its work.

The charity runs week-long activity holidays for people with cancer.

Nicky, of Liley Lane, Upper Hopton, said: “I thought it was such a good idea to give people with cancer a week away. I would have loved to have gone on one of their courses.”

But as she ran through Wales, Nicky got a taste of the adventure and camaraderie of those group trips.

“I’ve done mountain marathons where you’re out two days carrying your stuff, but by day three we were just finding bits of our bodies falling apart that we didn’t even know about,” she said. “My shins and feet didn’t like the pounding.”

A welcome boost came on day three when Odyssey programme director Hugo Iffla greeted the runners at the top of a peak with bacon sandwiches.

“By then the team had really gelled. Some people had joint pain and others were just really tired, but it was really good fun.”

Nicky completed the Dragon’s Belly with Claire Oliffe, Tammy Haywood, Tim Rippon, Willy Kitchen and Chris Hare, who works for Leeds-based Keepmoat.

The charitable work doesn’t stop there though as Nicky is now hosting a race closer to home. The inaugural Hoppits Hill Races will be held at her Upper Hopton farm on August 25.

The junior and senior races will raise funds for Kirkwood Hospice in memory of Nicky’s late landlord David Bell.

It coincides with an annual fundraiser held at Lower Hopton Cricket Club by his family.

Visit www.justgiving.com/teams/dragonsbelly to sponsor the team and www.hoppits.co.uk for full details of the upcoming races.