Black Spur Ultra has, amazingly, remained somewhat undiscovered in the trail running community. Held in Kimberley, BC, Canada’s highest city (we mean elevation), the race combines all of the course elements that appeal to trail runners. Big climbs, no pavement, scenic single track, then long stretches where you can open up and run fast. There are 54 KM, 108 KM, and 108 KM relay options.
“It’s harder than Death Race”, says Hiroshige Watanabe, a seasoned ultra-runner. Undoubtedly this is one of the most technical courses you will experience. The first loop is aptly named “Goat”, describing the rocky trail you follow to the top of the mountain. It’s a wild ride down from the summit with big, open views of the Columbia Basin. “Toad”, the second loop, is almost entirely single track, which rounds lakes and crosses rock slides. On “Bear”, the third loop, you stretch your legs with wide-open trails, and a long, slow climb back to the finish. The terrain varies significantly from area to area, so the scenery is always changing.
Former 54 KM record holder Eric Reyes says, “If you do not have a crew, you can run it with just one water bottle because of the great set up”. There are three loops with only one central staging area, so crew and families can relax without having to haul gear from place to place.
“Whether you’re a seasoned ultra-runner looking to push your limits or a beginner looking for your first relay with some friends, I cannot recommend BSU enough!” says James Dalke, the 2018 54 KM winner. The race is hosted at Kimberley Alpine Resort, and the area itself offers numerous amenities for families. Kimberley is a friendly town where outdoor adventure abounds.
In 2019 the organizers are introducing a new option – Black Spur Vertical. Simply put, for those who like climbing, you have four hours to do as many laps of North Star Mountain as possible.