Endurance Athlete Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis Undertakes 2,855-mile Journey to Benefit Spondylitis Association of America

Helgi Olafson, a health activist, professional yacht chef, and endurance athlete living with ankylosing spondylitis, will undertake an epic journey to benefit the Spondylitis Association of America. On August 13, 2021 Olafson will kick off the Triple Crown of 200s, three original non-repetitive 200-mile trail running courses in the USA. Olafson will attempt to cover the entire 2,855 miles by foot over the course of 61 days.

Olafson will begin his adventure with Bigfoot 200, a 206.5-mile ultramarathon with an elevation change of +42,506 ft and -43,906 ft.  that takes place in the Northern Cascade Mountains and the iconic Mt. Saint Helens.  Once this race is complete, Olafson and pacers, supported by a team of two and a 4×4 roving aid station, will make their way south via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), attempting to break the overall supported speed record for the 453-mile Oregon section along the way. Once through Oregon, Olafson will continue south via the PCT to compete in the 2nd race of the Triple Crown, the Tahoe 200, which circumnavigates Lake Tahoe.  This race covers 205.5 miles with an elevation change of +40,200 ft and -40,200 ft.   From Tahoe, Olafson will continue east on the American Discovery Trail (ADT) toward Moab, Utah.  During this section, Olafson will attempt the 496 mile overall supported speed record on the ADT through Nevada.  The Moab 240 is the third and final race of the Triple Crown, with 240.3 miles and an elevation change of +29,467 ft and -29,467 ft.

One in every 100 people in the U.S. has spondyloarthrits, the name given to a group of closely related rheumatic diseases that primarily affect the spine and other joints. Olafson has been living with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of spondyloarthritis, since he was diagnosed at the age of 19. Olafson is asking that donations made in support of his journey be directed to the Spondylitis Association of America. “When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know that there were more than 3 million people in the U.S. living with this disease. It’s important for me to help raise awareness and support the work of SAA,” says Olafson. “This is a journey that has never been attempted before and may never be attempted again,” he adds.

Olafson will adhere to a detailed itinerary and follow an exact predetermined route wherever possible. Using GPS satellite tracking, Olafson and his crew will be tracked in real time as he progresses through the challenge.  They will also share photos and messages via social media.

To learn more about Olafson and the fundraiser, visit Helgi’s fundraiser:  https://spondylitis.org/helgi-olafsons-triple-crown-of-200s/