Friday, August 28, 2009

Jones-Wilkins completes an Ultra “Triple Crown”

An unassailable record?

Most Blaine County school teachers and administrators were slowly getting back into the grind with mundane tasks this week. But Andy Jones-Wilkins did something a little different in the days before the 2009-10 school year begins.

The 41-year-old head of school at The Community School in Sun Valley finished ninth at the 27th annual Leadville 100 Ultramarathon race at Leadville, Colo. on Saturday, Aug. 22. There were 275 finishers.

Jones-Wilkins' finishing time for the out-and-back 100-mile course at high elevations was 19 hours, 49:42 minutes. The winning time of Gunnison's Timmy Parr was 17.27:23. Top woman was Lynette Clemens of Leadville, 20.58:01.

Lowest point on the course was 9,200 feet elevation and the highest point was Hope Pass at 12,600 feet. The entrants paid $225 for the privilege. Those finishers under 25 hours, including Jones-Wilkins, won large, handcrafted gold-and-silver trophy belt buckles.

His finish was good enough to win the M4 age class and Masters' Division and set a new standard for 100-mile trail racing.

The race marked the end of an extraordinary summer of racing in which Jones-Wilkins completed the three toughest mountain trail 100 milers in the U.S. over an eight-week period.

On June 27, he finished his fifth consecutive Western States 100-miler at Squaw Valley, Calif. in 18.46:51, good for 11th place overall. On July 12 at Silverton, Colo., he was fifth overall in the Hardrock 100-miler at 28.09:29.

In the process of completing Western States, Hardrock and Leadville—essentially spending 67 hours running—he became the first person in history to finish in the top-10 in each of these races in the same year, effectively setting a now seemingly unassailable record in ultrarunning's "Triple Crown."

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