Alumni Spotlight: Celebrating our 5 Year Runners

It’s graduation season, so we thought it timely to celebrate a small crew of extraordinary humans that have been crushing the Golden Ultra since it’s inaugural start in 2015. This veteran alumni comes from all walks of life, but there are two things that they all have in common: their infectious zest for epic adventure, and their 5th consecutive registration for the Golden Ultra!!!



Ben is a steadfast and calming presence on and off course. He makes everyone feel at ease with his fun loving demeanor, and he has always stood out because of his infectious smile on course (even after 60 km). He treks all the way from the Yukon with a jovial northern crew each year. In Ben’s words, “fall just wouldn’t be fall without the Golden Ultra'.” Well Ben, the Golden Ultra wouldn’t be the same without you.



Jan, a former Golden local, has been crushing our Full Pint since signing up for his first ultra off the couch in 2015! After years of comedy and shenanigans, Jan is planning to conquer our beastly 120K this year...and no doubt he’ll be smiling the whole way. Jan always brings a hearty dose of hilarity in every activity that he chooses, and we’d be hard pressed to find a photo of him not grinning gleefully. Jan has recently moved to the coast, and has written a very relatable blog on what it’s like training for a massive goal as a family man. Check it out here.



Solana is a force to be reckoned with. She co-owns Capra in Squamish, she founded Ladies of the Trails in the lower mainland, she’s an active race director, and most importantly: she’s an animal onesie enthusiast who is ALWAYS on course (whether she’s running or not) to cheer on her fellow community. Solana’s support and compassion for other runners, and her enthusiastic and free spirited nature make her a cherished part of our race.



We recently chatted with Graham about his 5th year, and he had this to say (cue the waterworks): “Of runs that I’ve done since that first Ultra in Golden, it is still my favourite race. I plan to be one of the runners who has run each of the first 10 years when that day comes. The trails are fantastic and the scenery is incredible, and the weather is perfect that time of year… even last years ankle deep snow made for a surreal and special run. The photography is the best of any run I’ve ever done. In the five years my wife and I have been coming, we’ve discovered great places to stay, and are always charmed by the wonderful people that organize the race, and the nice people of Golden. ”



When Jenn isn’t locally kicking our butts on the pilates mat, she’s taking on a new challenge each year with her family in tow. Jenn and Hayden Tataryn have been participating since Day 1, and we’re so thrilled that it’s always been a family affair for them! She originates from the prairies, so she’s always in awe of watching her children conquer mountains. “Watching my son and his friends take on new challenges is the reason 
we’ll return this fall,” Jenn states.

If you’ve run all 4 years, and are signing up for your 5th with us - please let us know! We would LOVE to highlight you along with the rest of our vets. We’ve also compiled a returning runners list of all you crazy people that have run with us over the years (AKA a massive attendance list, grade school style). If you’re interested, take a look here and let us know if we’ve missed ya!

Crash Course: The Tears


Similar to our Cruise race, our Tears participants will start in Spirit Square and run along the Rotary Trail & Kicking Horse Trail roadway on the north & east sides of the Kicking Horse & Columbia Rivers.  The first 2 km of this race is a cruisey road run, until runners cross the single-lane bridge over the Columbia River and veer off to the trails of the CBT mainline network above the Columbia River.

Your left hand exit off the road will lead you with CBT, where you will begin to gradually climb a switchbacking 4 KM (approx) of serene forested single track. Enjoy the mellow twists and turns of the sneaky elevation gain that CBT provides before you notice the trail start to level out as you get to the intersection of CBT and Mighty Quinn. Unlike the Cruise runners, who will exit CBT onto Mighty Quinn, Tears runners will keep on pushing into the forest and stay on CBT mainline as it meanders deeper into the woods above the Columbia River.


After approximately 6.5K on CBT you’ll reach our fun little “loop de loop” (official terminology) of the course: Old Age and Treachery. You’ll reach a well marked intersection and be guided to the right. This section feels slightly lusher than the rest, however that could be due to knowing you’re at the farthest point on the trails! There’s one last sneaky little dose of elevation as you loop back around to start your journey home.

Old Age and Treachery links up with the Gold Rush trail, which is an awesome descent filled with gentle curves as it leads you towards Take It Easy. With this final trail you’ll be greeted by the sounds and sights of town again, as well as some rooty cliffside running along the steep banks of the Columbia.

Once you’ve Taken It Easy, you’ll be headed back across the bridge to bring it home to the finish line!

Training for the 120 as a parent: A moment of reflection, by Jan Kotyk


For those of you who don’t know Jan, he is a former Golden resident who has recently moved to the coast with his patient wife Erin, their adorable son Asher, and their pup Shivers. He is a doting dad, riotous runner, and hilarious addition to any race or bbq - if you’ve been to an Ultra, you’re likely to have run into Jan gleefully smiling as he crushes the Full Pint year after year. Jan started his first ultra essentially off the couch, and has been chipping away at his impressive ultra resume ever since! He has graciously and hilariously shared a few anecdotes about what training for our new 120 course with a 5 year old son is like:

I have run in the Golden Ultra each year since its inception. This will be my fifth year challenging the amazing single track course that Magi has drawn up. This is also the fifth year that I have been a father (6th year by Sept 27th)…


So: every year that I have spent training for the Ultra has also been a year in training as a dad to our son Asher. These have been two of the most difficult and rewarding achievements in my life. When I signed up for the Golden Ultra this year, I decided to register for the 120km distance. That is twice the distance I have ever run at one time!!!

I have thought long and hard about the amount of time and energy I will need for training, and the effect that will have on my family, so I have decided to put Asher in a kennel until the race is complete. I’m sure they will give him the attention he deserves. (since beginning this essay, my research, has shown that there is no such thing as a “kennel for children whose parents want to run”, so it looks like I will just have to balance the two).


Having a child doesn’t eliminate training opportunities, but it definitely restricts the times that you are able to do them. I used to be a fair weather runner, and I am very fortunate that my wife, son and dog love spending time outdoors, but it also means that if it is nice out, we try to do a family activity. This means I have to be prepared to run / train in less than desirable conditions. Sidenote: the race is to be held in the mountains… be prepared for a FAIR AMOUNT OF WEATHER.

I also don’t have the luxury of running whenever it best suits me. I used to run when I was stressed, or when I felt at the top of my game and was ready to turnout some quality km’s, or because I had too much time on my hands. Now I run around (mostly in circles chasing Asher) our schedule. Asher is 5 and a 1/2 (don’t forget to say the “1/2, or you’ll never hear the end of it) so between school, after school programs, and occasionally having to feed and water him is when I try to fit runs in. 


Although having a child has changed my running schedule to be more fitting to his life, his routines, or lack thereof, I really believe it has made me a better runner. When I finally have some free time to myself, and my son’s secret box of lunch treats whispers sweet nothings in my ear, and the the weather man is laughing at my regions unfortunate forecast, I run. And those are usually the best runs I have, and most likely the best preparation for the Golden Ultra. 

After writing this I realized that a lot of people don’t know me or my humour. After this they might be ok with keeping it that way, so I will say this: I LOVE running, but I would give it up in a heartbeat for my son if I had to.

…I won’t lie, as soon as his contract is up, we’ll probably just get a cat (again, my research has ruined my plans). 

Crash Course: Our Cruise race

To start, participants will run along the Rotary Trail & Kicking Horse Trail (roadway), heading west, on the north & east sides of the Kicking Horse & Columbia Rivers.  The first 2 km of this leg is mellow and flat, until runners cross the single-lane bridge over the Columbia River and hit the trails. 


Starting on CBT Mainline, you will begin to steadily climb a rolling 4 KM (approx) of beautiful forested single track. Get lulled by the twists and turns of CBT before you feel the trail start to level out as you get to the intersection of CBT and Mighty Quinn.

Here, you’ll turn down Mighty Quinn for some fun, undulating downhill descent meant to stretch out those legs. After less than a KM you’ll veer off onto Gold Rush Descent, where you’ll start to catch glimpses of the Columbia River as you continue to head back towards the bridge. Once you hop onto your final trail of Take It Easy, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, meandering run beside the river with gorgeous views to the east and south before you head back to Spirit Square.