Welshman Scott Jenkins has become the first British runner to complete ‘The Triple Crown of 200s’, as he finished the 2023 Tahoe 200, Bigfoot 200 and Moab 240.
Only 125 people have completed the feat in the eight years of its existence, and Jenkins secured British history as he recorded the fifth best cumulative time across all three races this year.
2023 Triple Crown uniquely challenging
The Triple Crown of 200s is, at the best of times, an incredibly difficult physical challenge.
It is not just the combined distance of more than 640 miles across the three races, but also the severe elevation gain. The Tahoe 200 has over 11,000m of elevation gain, the Bigfoot 200 has nearly 15,500m and the Moab 240 has nearly 9,900m.’
Then there’s the time frame to take into account- the Tahoe 200 usually takes place in mid-June, and the Moab 240 takes place in mid-October meaning recovery time between races is nearly non-existent.
But in 2023, Scott Jenkins and all Triple Crown hopefuls had an even shorter time period to complete the gruelling challenge with Tahoe moving to the July 21 due to heavy snowfall making a June start date impossible.
That left just two weeks between Tahoe and Bigfoot- an extraordinarily short time for Jenkins and others to run two 200 mile races, let along with eyes on a third later in the year.
Jenkins handles the heat
Tahoe also threw up problems with extreme temperatures combined with high sun exposure due to the elevation of much of the route.
All that helped result in a drop out rate of nearly 43% at this year’s race- but Jenkins was able to handle the heat.
“The heat this year was unreal and saw myself being sick continuously for the first 65 miles of the race,” Jankins said, “Psychologically that was hard.
“I just kept thinking, I’m losing much needed calories every time I eat or drink… The nutrition is fast becoming my nemesis in these races, with myself historically always being sick the full first day of any race.”
Jenkins finished 19th at Tahoe 200 with a time 80:10:46. He then crossed the country, heading from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Washington State for the Bigfoot 200.
“The sensitivity felt after Tahoe 200 on the soles of my feet was excruciating and unnerved me going into Bigfoot 200 knowing just how mountainous the Bigfoot terrain was,” Jenkins explained.
But he knew the Bigfoot course well, having DNF’d in 2021 and finished the race in 2022- albeit with a “near fatal slip” on the Klickatat trail.
There would be no repeat of that in 2023, and Jenkins finished 35th in a time of 08:49:13 to tick off the second of three races in the Triple Crown of 200s.
Moab finish makes history
All that was left for Scott Jenkins was the simple matter of the 240 mile Moab 240 through the Utah desert, ahead of which he returned to the UK to continue his day job.
“Thankfully, in this final race, I was able to minimise my trademark sickness on day 1 to just 3 hours,” Jenkins explained, feeling that he had cracked the code to his nutritional issues.
He powered to a 14th place finish in a time of 88:17:55, bringing his total running time across the three Triple Crown races to 249 hours and 17 minutes.
That was enough to finish fifth and secure his spot in history as the first British runner to complete the Triple Crown of 200s in a year where 50% of those who signed up to complete the feat dropped out.
“This is when you find out the true measure of yourself,” Jenkins said.
“When the chips are down, can you still keep pushing forward? Nothing in life is guaranteed and if the outcome was guaranteed, would the finish be as meaningful? probably not!”