The Olympian and the Ultra

Olympic form on the water.

Jake Wetzel bought some real estate in Golden in 2000 and subsequently went on to compete in three Olympic Games (2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing), including winning a silver medal in Athens and a gold in Beijing.  Coincidence?  We think not.

While it would be easy to think of Jake as a bit of eye candy with some serious neck bling, there is a bit more to the story.  Jake took up rowing in 1997 after a successful junior career in cycling, and since his international rowing exploits, also completed a PhD in Finance.  Now a father, husband and businessman, we caught up with Jake to figure out "why running?" and "why now?"

"The Golden Ultra is the first race that I've truly prepared for since I retired from rowing.  I was inspired by Magi Scallion (Race Director) to do it because I think that it's just a great thing for Golden.  It really profiles what Golden has to offer right from town - not just the national parks and other nearby attractions.  Golden is not a traditionally sporty town and it's quite a humble community so it's really nice to give it this opportunity to shine."

"I had never done a running event before this summer but I know how to prepare.  I think that running ultramarathons is really mental, and in a lot of ways that is what competing at the Olympic level was like.  You have to really prepare for everything - segment the race, plan your nutrition, plan your lead up, and do your training.  It's very mentally challenging."

Ultra form on the mountain trails.

"The thing I've enjoyed most is having a goal and doing something consistently.  You can't take training gaps when you're preparing for an ultramarathon.  It's been fun to run with other people and get into places that I would not go alone.  I've done two events in preparation - the MEC 50 km in North Vancouver and the SkyPilot in Squamish. I really don't think of them as 'races,' and I don't feel the competitive pressure, it's more a challenge to push yourself to do more and it changes the way you look at exploring."

"I've had a place in Golden since 2000 so I know the area well.  I think the biggest challenge for me will be the section from the Moonraker trails up the canyon to the top.  It will be a long climb but it is so scenic: looking down the Purcells and into the Columbia Valley.  It is one of the most beautiful spots and I think that will make that hard section worth it."

Good luck Jake!  We're stoked to have you representing Golden!