Helgi Olafsen is a spondyloarthritis warrior who is also a seasoned trail runner who competes at the highest levels of the sport and uses the exposure he garners to support the causes he believes in. The Triple Crown of 200s is an epic undertaking and Helgi wants to use this event to raise much-needed funds for the Spondylitis Association of America. Helgi planned to run this grueling course in the summer of 2020 to support the SAA’s mission and inspire others affected by SpA and other challenges to reach for their dreams.
A message from Helgi:
For those who have followed my plans to raise funds for the Spondylitis Association this summer, a cause I am very passionate about, I make this announcement with a heavy heart. With the Triple Crown of 200s less than a month away, I have decided to pull back the reins on my 2868 mile adventure until 2021.
I made this decision a few weeks after COVID-19 caused worldwide shutdowns, casting a net so far that it would affect every facet of life as we know it. Our global society has grown so much from the quarantine periods and many believe we will come out stronger at the end of it all. I am one of those people.
As tough as it is, I think the decision to postpone will give the project a much better chance for success. I have spent hundreds of hours training and planning for this fundraiser over the past two years, but I’m confident that the delay, while disappointing, will ultimately position the event to be even more successful in 2021!
Many things have seen changes during the age of COVID-19. More and more events and activities have gone virtual, including races like the ones I participate in. Ideally, we will someday see a return to in-person, real-world events and will come out stronger in the end as we cross those finish lines.
For now, we will accept the inevitable changes and adapt to overcome the adversity and division that our planet is currently facing. I’m confident that, together, we will make miracles!
Having ankylosing spondylitis has really inspired me to take chances I may not have otherwise taken. It’s almost as if this disease has somehow made me stronger within. It’s the communities surrounding the things I believe in that have inspired me to strive to make a difference in the lives of current and especially future AS patients from around the world. This is why I hold my relationship with the Spondylitis Association of America in such high regard.
If you or someone you know may be interested in volunteering for the 2858 mile adventure next summer, please get in touch. We are looking for dedicated crew members of all capacities. You don’t have to be a runner to volunteer. You just have to believe in this cause and want to get involved. We are looking for crew, pacers, and fundraisers. We have some exciting incentives to offer from sponsors, but most of all, we need your help.
Many thanks to all those who Stand Tall and don’t take arthritis sitting down!
I have to send a big thank you to Candice and Kristal at Destination Trail for offering full transfer from this year’s Triple Crown to either 2021 or 2022. This has helped me make the decision to postpone, while also helping many others throughout the world who have decided to postpone for whatever reasons they may have.
I’d also like to thank LEKI USA, a company that we all know well to make the best trekking poles on the market. LEKI has agreed to partner with the Spondylitis Association of America to help people with ankylosing spondylitis and other forms of spondyloarthritis to get and stay active. I think this is a great partnership and I believe that the use of LEKI’s trekking poles and Nordic walking poles will greatly help the mobility of SpA patients all over the world.
SAA is so grateful for all of Helgi’s hard work and dedication in prepping this fundraiser and we’ll be following along as the adventure unfolds! We also want to thank Leki for their partnership and hope to continue working with them for years to come.
If you’re interested in being part of this effort, see how you can help here:
View Helgi’s Fundraiser
Learn how you can help Helgi in his journey
Watch Helgi talk spondylitis with Imagine Dragon’s lead singer, Dan Reynolds