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Runner smashes record in 100-mile coastal race

Nicky Spinks in race
Nicky Spinks competes in the Arc of Attrition 2022 (Image credit: Arc of Attrition)

Runners Mark Darbyshire and Nicky Spinks won a 100-mile race dubbed “south west England’s toughest foot race”.

Mark smashed the course record of the Arc of Attrition last weekend by more than 90 minutes in 19 hours and 12 minutes. The previous record was set by another successful ultra runner Kim Collison.

Mark, who last year won the Montane Lakeland 100 in another record time and followed this with a win in the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 2021 race, said: “The Arc is a tough race; tougher than the Lakeland 100.

“There is a lot of darkness in the Arc [because it starts at noon] and it has some pretty technical terrain. I might return to do the 50-mile race next year.”

Nicky’s time of 25:35 in the point-to-point Arc of Attrition, held along the coastline of Cornwall, was more than 80 minutes ahead of the female runner up. She finished just outside Anna Troup‘s record time set in 2020. (The Arc was cancelled in 2021.)

The 54-year-old breast cancer survivor said she was “very, very pleased” with the win.

winners Arc of Attrition

Winner Mark Darbyshire on the podium (Image credit: Arc of Attrition)

Nicky Spinks

Nicky was 'very, very' happy with her triumph (Image credit: Arc of Attrition)

The MudCrew event includes a 50-mile race as well as the 100-mile Arc, which curves along the Cornish coast path from Coverack to Porthtowan. 

The weather on the day of the race was warm – 10C – but with a strong wind most of the time, plus drizzle on and off.

Second place overall was Tristan Stephenson in 20:01, while Dave Phillips took third place in 22:45.

Nicky, an inov-8 ambassador, was ninth overall and she was followed home in the women’s race by Jodie Gauld in 27:53 Una Miles in 28:33.

Nicky, who has numerous ultra race podiums to her name and set a 24-hour mountains record in the summer, added: “I think if I trained specifically for the Arc, I think I could go faster but I don’t have the focus to do that. The eight miles of tarmac through Penzance is still too vivid in my mind.”

The inov-8 ambassador added: “Underfoot it was very good and the rocks even dried out at times. Then when I changed into inov-8 ParkClaws during the race it made a big difference. I felt like a road runner then and the cushioning was lovely.”

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.