Adventure Project - Tackling the Triple Crown of 200's - Jen Merchant

Adventure Project - Triple Crown of 200's Jen Edwards

Picture credit: Scott Rokis and Howie Stern 

Adventure Project: Tackling the Triple Crown of 200s

Adventurer: Jen Merchant

Location: Remote and Rugged trails in Washington, California and Utah.  Bigfoot 200 (August 10-14th), Tahoe 200 (September 7-11th) and Moab 240 (October 12-16th)

Project Scope:

The Triple Crown consists of three 200+ mile trail races in a three-month period.

  1. The Bigfoot 200 on August 10, 2018.
  2. The Tahoe 200 on September 7, 2018.
  3. The Moab 240 on October 12, 2018.

These 200+ mile events are all covered on foot and your time does not stop when you need to sleep.  You must cover the race distance while managing your speed, sleep and nutrition and complete the distance within a prescribed time.  Practically speaking, you’re pushing your body to keep moving without sleep for 3-4 days. 

Completing three of these events in a three-month period asks a lot of your body.  It asks even more of your mind.  It will challenge me in ways I can’t even imagine.  And that’s why I love it. 

Why am I doing this?:

I truly thrive in pushing my body and mind to new heights.  During long events, you develop a true sense of self – of knowing that your mind will propel your body for as long as it takes to get there.  Life, like an ultra, doesn’t throw things your way that are easy.  It’s about how you deal with those challenges, how you smile through the pain and keep a positive attitude and believe in yourself.  I want to experience the wide range of emotions, embrace the physical and mental challenge with a positive attitude and use it all to learn more about myself. 

I have a feeling I’ll be asking myself the “why” many times in the events themselves! 


The adventure will officially begin with Bigfoot and conclude at Moab about 3 months later.  But my adventure begins now as I ready my mind and body for the challenge ahead.  The real fun will be in all the highs and lows during the events themselves as well as the recovery in between events! 

Gear Requirements:

In my experience, you wish you had everything you own so you can pick what you want at that moment. Since bringing everything you own isn’t possible, I’ve leaned to develop a mentality of packing to the best of your ability and placing things where you think you’ll want them – but once the race starts, just be happy with whatever you find at any drop bag. Think of it like Christmas – you open the drop bag present and figure out what looks good. Like, “Sweet, I have a toothbrush and can brush my teeth!”  

As you’d guess, running a 200 takes a lot of gear. Orange Mud is critical to all my adventures, I rely on all the packs to carry my gear and hold up to the beatings that I dish out.  The Adventure Pack – 12L and 20L – will both be essential pieces of equipment.  

Just so you know I’m not pulling your leg, here’s a general list of gear I consider before packing for one of these races:

  • Orange Mud Adventure Pack – with at least one extra bladder in case of emergency
  • Carbon Z Poles
  • 4 pairs of shoes (this isn’t a typo – taking care of your feet is critical)
  • 6-7 pairs of socks
  • 3 complete outfits (when you can’t take a shower for days a change of clothes does wonders)
  • 2 Orange Mud trucker hats
  • 3 Orange Mud buffs (I like a new one for each night)
  • Arm Warmers
  • Drop bags
  • Duffel bags for organizing gear and providing gear to crew, if available
  • Warm coat and rain jacket – consider one for each night
  • Water purifier
  • Cheap rain ponchos
  • Hats/gloves/tights – be ready for the cold nights
  • Lighting system and at least two back ups, including batteries
  • Space blankets
  • Watches and chargers if needed
  • Music 
  • Blister kit, body lube 
  • Chapstick
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby wipes (for when nature calls in nature)
  • Toothbrush – your dentist will thank you
  • Many food items, all different variety
  • Ziplock bags for garbage

Jen and Shawn Merchant - Moab 240

Picture credit: Scott Rokis and Howie Stern