3-day stage race quickly becoming a Canadian classic
There is something special about mountain racing that tests your spirit and feeds your soul. At the Golden Ultra this fall, runners will experience it all — three days of Blood, Sweat and Tears, caressed by mountain bliss courtesy of the spectacular Purcell range.
The Golden Ultra has a growing reputation as an anchor event in Western Canada’s mountain and trail running calendar. It’s a three-day stage race from Sept. 22-24, sturdy enough to challenge the best mountain athletes with “Half-Pint” options to make the race inviting for newbie trail runners, even running just a single stage.
- Stage 1 is Blood, the Vertical challenge: 1,000 metres of climb over a 4.5K trail starting at the base of Kicking Horse ski resort. Climb is the 3K challenge.
- Stage 2 is Sweat: Saturday features a 60K loop run with 2,500 metres elevation, including 15K of spectacular ridge running that will take your breath away. Conquer is the 30K run.
- Stage 3 is Tears: A challenging 22K half-marathon awaits runners on Sunday morning along the northern slopes of the Columbia River valley. Cruise is the 10.5K race, all finishing in front of cheering spectators.
While the event opportunities seem endless, the secret sauce is the beautiful town of Golden, B.C.
“My favourite thing about the Golden Ultra is the variety of landscapes and terrain you cover during the three days. Spectacular summits, incredible ridges, golden (yes, literally) coloured forests, rivers, gorges, single track, and wider trails — you will never get bored of the scenery,” says 2016 runner Hollie Holden. “I rarely do this, as I like trying new things, but I am going back in 2017, there is no way I’d miss it.”
“The whole weekend surpassed even my high expectations, due to three main things: the amazing town of Golden, the beautiful flowy trails and the people! I’d never been to Golden,” says Katie Mills, 2016 Golden Ultra champion. “Now I want to live there.”
The organizers are keeping the successful formula in place for the 2017 event and adding some extras.
“There is always room for improvement and we listen to our runners’ feedback to get there,” says race director Magi Scallion. “In 2017, we will be doing finisher awards for each stage and hiring some more crew to deal with the much higher expected numbers. We nearly doubled our numbers in 2016 and are on track to double again in 2017. It’s incredible and exciting, but we’re trying to be very careful to manage the growth and make sure the community feeling is still alive and well.”
“I’m a little biased, because I live in Golden, but I honestly love every single stage. While the vertical is absolutely heinous and there are some bushy sections, the last 1.5K on the ridge makes you forget about everything that came before. The upper reaches of the 60K course are just spectacular and the 30, 22 and 10K courses are some of my favourite trails that I run every day. The best thing about the Golden Ultra, for me, is to be able to share all of these amazing Golden trails with other trail runners!”