Dragon's Belly



24th October - Willy has written a piece for the Dark Peak News which is Here

I have extended my Just Giving page as I'm hoping to continue raising money for Odyssey http://www.justgiving.com/Nicola-SPINKS1


27th July - Charmian has totted up all the donations plus gift aid and it comes to 6527.77 which is fantastic. Hugo Iffla is extremely happy and hopes to run another course in 2013/14 with the proceeds.

The raffle winners for the Dragons' Back dvd are Debbie Smith and Margaret Lewis!


13th July - My report is written - it's probably full of mistakes but I've spent all day doing it and now need to go for my first run since finishing last Saturday! I hope you enjoy reading it and it inspires you to donate!

 Dragon's Belly write up

Photos of the whole week of Dragons Belly


9th July - We all had a fantastic week in Wales even though the weather on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning was poor. The support  were brilliant and put up tents, sorted our wet clothes out and cooked us breakfast, lunch and dinners. It was a brilliant week that will stay with us for a long time. Personally it couldn't have gone better (ok no shin pain would have been nice). Donations have been trickling in but we're still trying to reach our targets so please think about donating even a small amount will help. Hugo from Odyssey came along to the start, Day 2 camp and then met us on Cadiar Idris in foul weather and had cooked us bacon butties. He is very pleased with the amount so far (just over 3000) but a full course costs between 5000 and 6000 so we're hoping to raise nearer that. Come on - donate at  Just Giving Team Dragons Belly and help us reach our team target. Thanks

I'm in the process of compiling photos and a report but am busy haymaking so it could take a few days. In the meantime most of the news is on https://www.facebook.com/DragonsBelly2013 


30th June - All the team are packed and ready to go. Donations are coming in well but we still need more money to help us reach our target of 6000 (which is the cost of a full course for 10 people). This photo is of the happy participants on the 2013 May course. Everyone that donates will have their name entered into a raffle to win a Dragon's Back dvd !! Please donate at  Just Giving Team Dragons Belly .

During the week you can follow our progress on

1) Following us on https://www.facebook.com/DragonsBelly2013 
2) Tracking each runner as they run over each mountain on  http://maps.opentracking.co.uk/belly13.cfm I
3) Get snippets of news from Nicky on www.RaceKit.co.uk
4) And read progress reports on http://www.dpfr.org.uk/site/index

Many thanks for all your support and see you in a weeks time with a full report!


25th June - Charmian came on Sunday with the lorry and we loaded it up with the oven and tables. Hugo is getting us some banners to put along the sides so it can hopefully raise some money as it's driven down Wales!


The trackers website is up and running - located on the Lakes as that's where the trackers live!! As soon as we get to Wales next Monday night we will turn them on and the map will relocate there. The link is Open Tracking.co.uk/Belly13.cfm



18th June - It's nearly here. We have set up   Facebook  and a  Just Giving Team Dragons Belly page and fundraising is going well. I have written a Donation Request Letter which explains why I have personally chosen to support Odyssey.

We have been testing a tracker out and are very pleased with them. James has offered us 10 to use and so Nicky, Willy, Tim, Chris, Steve, Claire and Dave Pickering will have them plus there are spares for anybody running part days.

Catering is coming on - it will be great cooking and eating in a 7.5 tonne cattle wagon (home from home for me!) Thanks to Max Howard for the use of this!

5th June - Thank you everybody that came along to the Dragon's belly evening. We raised 90 in food donations and beer sales on top of that. The Dragon's Back film gave us all a taste for the mountains we will be running over and Hugo's talk about Odyssey was very inspiring and informative about the work that the charity does and what happens with the money that we raise.

I have been back in touch with James Thirlow and confirmed that the runners on both the full and part routes would like to carry out trackers and once I have the website link I will post it out so that family, friends and supporters can follow our progress.

So it's now down to fund raising and packing!

1st June - Some more news about the event tomorrow night !! Rich Heap from Slackjaw Film Productions has given me permission to show the Dragon's Back Film and so we will kick off with that at 6pm. He has also very kindly donated two dvd's that we are going to raffle off on the night to raise money for WMRT. Anyone wishing to buy a ticket (1) see or email me nicky9@runbg.co.uk to give their pledge and details. Also James Thurlow of Open Tracking  has sent me a tracker to try out and talk about as we're going to use them on the event itself.

The chilli is 75% ready as is the Apple pie and Rhubarb crumble. Amanda Heading of RaceKit and Hugo have their stuff prepared and we hope to see you all at Woodhead Mountain Rescue Headquarters at 6pm !!!!

15th May - We're running another Belly Evening at Woodhead Mountain Rescue on Sunday June 2nd at 6pm. Hugo Iffla from Odyssey is going to give a presentation on the charity and it's work which will be very interesting. Amanda Heading will explain how we can look after our feet and how to tape them when necessary and the rest of the evening will be an informal chat about the Dragon's Belly week - route, maps, kit, support, food etc. I'm going to make a veggie chilli with jackets/rice/rolls and a selection of puddings / cakes and charge 5 for food with all proceeds going to Woodhead Mountain Rescue. The evening is free to attend and everybody is welcome.

6th May - Charmian has produced comprehensive details of the Dragon's Belly Support and a list of costings for the campsites etc. If anyone would like to come along for the week or part of please feel free to contact myself at nicky9@runbg.co.uk for more details.

We have had a couple more runners opt for part route - Tim Rippon and Clair Oliffe will be joining us for Days 1 and 2. Mark Rawlinson has confirmed that he can make Days 1, 2 and 3. Chris B-H is doing the Lakeland 100 the week after so has also opted for Days 1 to 2. I think most people would like to avoid the flat sections of Day 4 but they can't be helped!


21st April - Sorry about the lack of updates; I was waiting until after the evening so as not to spoil anything. We had a good turnout with 25 people coming along and over 100 raised for WMRT. Think the runners were more taken with tea and biscuits than the "Colombian Adventurers" as beer sales were not as lucrative! Amanda and Andrew Heading's talk was very informative and consisted of planning for all the different events they have done from TransAlp cyclocross to Atacama Desert to Alaskan Ititarod. I introduced the Dragon's Belly and ran through the basic route and camps then passed over to Charmian who explained in detail how the support was going to work from day to day.

We are intending to run another evening in May so that we can all get together and discuss our training etc.



24th March - well the snow didn't stop. On the Friday I made lots of soup and set off at 4pm to collect the bread rolls. I had three phonecalls on route to WMRT - all about the snow and drifts. When I got to the HQ there was a 4ft drift all the way up the drive and half way across the main road. So we cancelled. It then took me and Charmian two hours to get home and Amanda/Andrew fours hours to get from Chesterfield to Matlock the long way round (via Derby).

The driveway to WMRT runs between those two walls on the left by the footpath sign!

So as we had all put a lot of work into the presentations and talks we have already got our heads together and found another date we can do .....

Friday 19th April !!!!


Link to the new flyer - please print off and display...RaceKit_Workshop Flyer 2


20th March - After the success of the Film Premier last Sunday we are going to follow the same format for this Friday's event at Woodhead Mountain Rescue!! I've ordered the bread rolls and will be making the vegetable soup on Friday morning. Amanda and Andrew are busy preparing their talks and I'm nearly there on the Dragon's Belly presentation - expect a lot of maps !! Brent is in charge of the barn and has already booked the afternoon off so that he can make sure the heating is on and working! Ian Winterburn is busy labelling up more Rescue Ale to sell and we will provide free tea/coffee as well.

Now all we need is the snow to stop and lots of people to turn up.......


28th Feb - I've made a RaceKit Workshop Flyer for the evening event on the 22nd March which can be printed off for publicity and information. We're also holding a "Rivers of Chocolate" Film_Premier on Friday 17th March for anyone who would like to come along to that as well.

25th February 2013 - The list of runners is growing - Alistair Bignall and his wife Kate from Odyssey are going to run the whole route - I'm in the process of comprising a "biography" of the runners and supporters so that you can see who's who and also which charity (if any) they are supporting. Also Melanie Wright (who I remember fondly; if painfully, giving me very sound advice on my feet on the Dragon's Back race) has offered to support us and is also going to run a few days with us as well.


22nd February 2013 - Along with Amanda and Andrew Heading of RaceKit  I'm organising a joint "Workshop in Multi-stage Races" and "Dragon's Belly" Evening. The date is Friday 22nd March at 7pm at Woodhead Mountain Rescue Headquarters . The evening will start at 7pm with a talk from Amanda and Andrew on how to train, prepare and run a multi-day event. There will then be a break for food (provided!) before we move onto the "Dragon's Belly" presentation. Me and Charmian will run through progress so far with organisation, route, campsites etc. It will be a good chance to catch up, ask questions and hopefully we might be able to make it a regular thing up to the actual week in July.

We're opening the evening up to the general public and charging 5 a head on the door to raise money for Woodhead Mountain Rescue.

Please could anyone thinking of coming along email me on  nicky9@runbg.co.uk so that we can cater for numbers.


2nd December 2012 - Nicky and Charmian met with Hugo Iffla from the Odyssey charity and discussed the Dragon's Belly! Here is a video of Hugo explaining Odyssey on  You Tube

A bit of background - I first heard of Odyssey in 2011 when I was in the Pyrenees running the Grand Raid. I met Ali Bignell there and got talking about cancer and charities. He explained his involvement with the Odyssey charity and what it was all about. To me it sounded a very worthwhile charity as it was aimed at adults who had had cancer and it helped them rebuild their lives and confidence. I could understand this. Back in 2006 after I was officially discharged it was hard to know where to go from there. You cannot return to your old normal life because you are no longer the person you were. Your values have changed and still you have the niggling doubts "why me, what if?". I had very good support in the form of friends and family to help me but it still took a long time to get my head round it. I can understand that people trying to adjust to their "new" life would benefit from further support and encouragement.

12 months down the line and I am finally meeting Hugo with a fund raising idea that me and Charmian have come up with. This is the Dragon's Belly - a five day, sponsored, self funded challenge down the mountains of Wales taking place in July 2013. We had a very welcome beer after a long day and a lovely meal (courtesy of Hugo) while discussing the challenge and the charity. Hugo explained that the charity is in need of funding / funds in order to run more courses and he is very keen on our idea. He suggested that the Odyssey team might be able to run the Belly as a relay - he is undecided as to which leg he will do!