Crash Course: The Climb

BLong-0535.jpg

Don't let the distance fool ya - the Climb is a short but steep burn from start to finish.  Yes, you do have the luxury of taking a chairlift to your start - but you still get the humbling honour of running the steepest and most gnarly sections of the course.

Before we get into it, one of the most important aspects of this race is ensuring you’re heading up the gondola in a timely manner! It takes a good 20 minutes to ride the chairlift to your start line. You’ll need to make sure you're on the chairlift no later than 3:30 pm.  The Blood runners start from the bottom of the chairlift, and the Climb begins from the top. 

BLong-3367.jpg

The Blood course passes directly past the top of the Catamount Chairlift - basically across your start line on the Kicking Horse service road. For about 500 m you're on the road before commencing an abrupt climb...just to get the blood pumping right off the bat. It then gets even more aggressive and hurtles up Show Off, a winter alpine run that is directly below the gondola. The incline is REAL. It’s rocky. It’s a reckoning. 

BLong-2-8.jpg

After Show Off, at tower 15 of the gondola, runners hit a beautiful single track known as the CPR Ridge Trail. This will take runners directly under the Gondola to the top of CPR Ridge and over to the summit of the mountain and top of the Gondola. The last 250 m will be reasonably flat, so plan to stretch it out with a big sprint... or not! The finish line is the encore, as you'll find yourself at the summit of Kicking Horse mountain. Bask in the 360-degree views reaching deep into the Purcell Mountains, across the Columbia River Valley and back to the Rocky Mountains. Relax and cheer for the other finishers before you head back to the bottom on the Gondola and refuel with a nice big meal to Conquer day 2! 



Crash Course: The Blood (in all its gory details)

BLong-2678.jpg

Brash. Beastly. Beeline. All words we would associate with The Blood, presented by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Over the next few months, we will be highlighting a different 2019 course every couple of weeks to give you a play by play of what you can expect out there on race day. Our day 1 tried and true seemed like a good place to start: deceptively a taster, only 5 km in length...but don’t let this fool you - it includes more than 1000m of elevation gain.

Starting at the bottom of the resort, by the base of the Gondola, runners will have a so-called warm-up before the real climbing starts....if you call an uphill a warm-up. Leaving the base and heading up the old t-bar road, runners will enjoy some smooth surface and mellow grades.

BLong-797.jpg

After a kilometer, the course departs the t-bar road and heads straight up an alpine ski run, known as Little Ben. Not maintained in the summer, the surface is still quite smooth and easily runnable.

Little Ben ends at the top of the Catamount chairlift and runners will join the service road for about 500M and a nice kick in the face climb... before it beelines up Show Off. Show Off is a winter alpine run that is directly below the gondola.  It’s gnarly. It’s rocky. It’s STEEP. 

BLong-2773.jpg

After Show Off, at tower 15 of the gondola, runners hit their first single track of the day, and it’s a real beaut! Known as the Bowl Over Loop, runners will head straight up under the Gondola to the top of CPR Ridge and over to the summit of the mountain and top of the Gondola. The last 250 m will be reasonably flat so plan to stretch it out with a big sprint... if you have one left!

BLong-2-13.jpg

The finish line is a sight to behold, beyond your elation for completing the tough course. At the summit of a mountain, you’re treated to 360-degree views, deep into the Purcell Mountains, along the Columbia River Valley and back to the Rocky Mountains. Relax for a few moments and cheer for the other finishers before you head back to the bottom on the Gondola for a delicious dinner.

Check out the elevation profile and download the Google Earth file here.







Trail Racing at 70: The Story of Carol Green

We recently featured an article on Carol Green, a 71 year old trail running goddess that has been logging some seriously impressive mileage out on the coast with the Ladies of The Trails, a women’s trail running initiative founded by her daughter, Solana Green. Carol joined us in 2018 as one of our oldest competitors ever, and absolutely crushed the Half Pint! We wanted to pick her brain a little bit more on what made her choose our race.

In Carol’s words:

Around Christmas of 2017, over many (many) beers, I had my arm twisted and agreed to run the Golden Ultra Half Pint to Celebrate my 70th year.  In the past I had run a few road half marathons but my longest trail race or run was probably about 15km.  This was to be my longest trail run ever plus being a stage race. What sealed the deal for me was the promise of a running buddy, a past Golden Ultra Full and Half Pint Finisher, to stick with me during each of the 3 stages.

I was surrounded and mentored by many ‘Ladies of the Trails’ and it was a truly amazing experience!  I did not manage to train as hard as I should have/could have, but I did have a training plan and completed all my training runs.  I even did a mock 3-day stage race in the Squamish area 3 weeks before the big weekend.  Friday was a 3km climb with 900m of elevation up EVAC, under the Sea to Sky Gondola.  Saturday was a 28km run to Cat Lake which included a river fording and 820m elevation gain and Sunday was a 9km romp through the local trails. 

The entire time, both during training and the 3-day race, I was supported by enthusiastic and encouraging young women. This really helped me to stay on task and to stay focused.  I am a pretty determined person and when I set a goal I usually stick to it.  This was a really worthwhile goal!  It was hard, but it was a blast and I am so glad I did it!  I am really looking forward to doing it again this year and I am definitely going to try to devote more time to my training!  

I encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and take on this beautiful challenge…you won’t regret it!

To check out the full article in Trail Runner magazine, click here.

Outward Bound Canada rings in their 50th anniversary at the Golden Ultra!

One of the biggest groups we’ve ever had is coming to the Golden Ultra this year with Outward Bound Canada!

We are SO thrilled to be hosting over 20 participants from Outward Bound in Golden this fall. They will be coming from all over the country, and - for many of them - this will be one of their biggest challenges to date, mentally and physically.

So why the Golden Ultra?

This year is Outward Bound Canada’s 50th anniversary, and to honour that they’re undertaking a number of big fundraising initiatives aimed at keeping their life changing programs accessible for those who need them most. Runners with Outward Bound Canada’s group will be fundraising to do exactly that.

A bit more on Outward Bound Canada: they’re an incredible not for profit organization that partners with high schools, universities, community groups, government agencies, and more to assist youth and adults in challenging times of transition. Their philosophy is “there is more in you than you think” and they strive to cultivate resilience, leadership, connections and compassion through inspiring and challenging journeys of self-discovery largely based in the wilderness. Their core charitable groups include Veterans, Women, Indigenous People, and Vulnerable Youth.

Why not undertake a massive challenge to show your commitment to keeping the outdoors valued and accessible to everybody?

If you would like to get involved with OBC, they’re offering a fundraiser geared towards anyone who will be participating in this year’s Golden Ultra. Imagine your trip to Golden is free and you’re able to make a donation to Outward Bound Canada’s Women of courage program (for example). If this opportunity calls your spirit, then check out the link below for more information on how to get involved.

What is the UTMB?

We recently posted our UTMB points, so if you’re new to trail running, racing, or ultra running, you may be curious as to what the acronym UTMB stands for...well, now you can wonder no more!

The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc circuit is comprised of 7 different races over a week at the end of August, with the namesake race encompassing a 171KM route of Mont Blanc - the tallest peak in the Alps and Western Europe. These footraces came into fruition in 2003 and are now considered by many to be the “crown jewel of ultrarunning”.

Photo credit to the UTMB official website

Photo credit to the UTMB official website

To be eligible for the UTMB, you must collect 15 points at various qualifying trail races over a period of two years prior to the race (The other 6 races have varying points requirements, which you can read more about on their website - link below).

Once you have obtained the points required, you’re entered into a lottery for a spot! Some spots are also reserved for elite athletes according to specific criteria. Around 2,500 runners from all over the world participated in 2018, making it one of the largest ultra-races of its kind (not to mention over 2000 volunteers, and 50,000 spectators!)

Photo credit to the official UTMB website

Photo credit to the official UTMB website

While elite runners complete the loop in slightly more than 20 hours, most runners take 35+ hours to reach the finish line, as race conditions can be extremely challenging every year. It’s not uncommon to not finish this beast of a race!

There are 7 total races that one can participate in, and they include:

  • UTMB: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (171 km +10,040 m)

  • CCC: Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix (101 km +6,100 m)

  • TDS: Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (121 km +7,300 m)

  • OCC: Orsières - Champex - Chamonix (56 km +3,460 m)

  • PTL: La Petite Trotte à Léon (approx. 300 km +30,000 m)

  • MCC: De Martigny-Combe à Chamonix (40 km +2,300 m)

  • YCC: Youth Chamonix Courmayeur (15 km +1,100 m)

DSC09207.jpg

If this epic undertaking is on your radar - we can help you get there! There are 6 different ways to obtain points to qualify for the UTMB at our Golden Ultra weekend. We have 4 single day races that will get ya some digits, and two stage races that will also qualify you for a grand European adventure.

  • 120KM: 5 points

  • Full Pint (85KM) Stage Race: 4 points

  • Half Pint (45KM)  Stage Race: 2 points

  • Sweat (55KM): 3 points

  • Conquer (30KM): 1 point

  • Tears (20KM): 1 point


For more information on the UTMB “grande aventure” and the other races that take place during UTMB week, you can visit their website here.

UTMB POINTS HAVE ARRIVED!

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 1.52.51 PM.png

This just in - we’ve heard back from the UTMB on our new 2019 courses, yewwwww!!! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the UTMB (if you’re new to ultras, you’re in a safe place) - the Golden Ultra is a qualifying race for the Ultra-trail de Mont Blanc. 

Our races that qualify you for points are:

120KM: 5 points

Full Pint (85KM) Stage Race: 4 points

Half Pint (45KM) Stage Race: 2 points

Sweat (55KM): 3 points

Conquer (30KM): 1 point

Tears (20KM): 1 point

BLong-2317.jpg

HOW DOES THE UTMB POINT SYSTEM WORK?

Essentially, you need to collect qualification points by running races which show that you would have the ability to take on a UTMB race. You have 2 years to collect the points (ex. from 1st Jan 2019 until 31st December 2020 for the 2021 UTMB races). Points are based on race difficulty on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being the most difficult. You then enter a lottery, and then there’s a draw that takes place in early January each year.

You need 15 points to qualify for the UTMB lottery. Our event is currently one of four in Canada where runners can earn 5 points!