13 Reasons Why I Return to Golden Every Year - a Blog by Hollie Holden

2019 will be my 4th year running the Golden Ultra. For some reason I keep returning year after year, I do this with no other race and to be honest I am not the type of person who particularly loves racing 🤷 however, for whatever reason, this race keeps pulling me back year after year so I tried to break down just what it is that makes it so special!

DID SOMEONE SAY ROAD TRIP!

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I live in Vancouver and the 8 hour drive to Golden never becomes old. The scenery is spectacular with plenty of opportunities to stop and stretch your legs if you don’t fancy doing it in one go.

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Highlights for me include eating our way along the route - we ALWAYS stop at DeMille’s Farm Market to top up our carbs and pet the farm animals (win, win!). Another fun challenge is to complete the ‘big 5’ - McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Tim Hortons AND Dairy Queen within the 8 hour drive. I contribute the McDonalds McFlurry I had one time to being particularly great at fuelling my best ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’ time to date!

(spot the bunny!)

PACKAGE PICK UP

You pick up your package in a Yurt! I don’t think this one needs further explanation. A YURT!

BEER AT TOP OF MOUNTAIN

If you like your beer (or if you like winning prizes) you are actively encouraged to drink beer at the peak of the mountain in the middle of a 60k ultramarathon.

SNOWMEN

Some years, if you’re lucky, there are snowmen to cheer you on!

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MAKE NEW FRIENDS

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You’re running for 7-12 hours (maybe 24 if you’re one of the crazy people tackling the new 120km distance this year! 😳) so, you’re going to meet people along the way and they’re going to be awesome. Like my friend Jan, I met him at my 1st Golden Ultra and turns out the 60km distance is too easy for him this year so he’s running the 120km...Follow him here and wish him luck!


CATCH UP WITH OLD FRIENDS

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The running community here in BC is big and amazing. I’ve made countless friends throughout the years at races, on the trails, at local run clubs and through my social media account. Unfortunately there are not enough days in the week to run with them all so, why not have 1 special weekend each year to dedicate to them and see them for 3 days straight!

GET TO RUN SOMEWHERE ELSE

I am lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world, however, there are other beautiful parts in the world too. Going to Golden is the chance to explore an area that I don’t often get to visit, you also get the added bonus of  a pre-planned route with trail markers and aid stations to keep you safe whilst doing so. Talking of safety, safety in numbers - running with this many people scares the bears away, right?

#VIEWZ4DAYZ

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I can’t really talk about this race without mentioning the views*. Woah. 😍

*WARNING: Such epic views may result in slower race times due to stopping you in your tracks.

FREE NATURAL ICE BATH

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The river that runs through the centre of Golden is the perfect location, perfect depth and perfect temperature for post-race ice baths. I recommend getting a finish line massage then heading straight to the river - BEST recovery protocall ever!

BEST PHOTOS EVER

Anywhere where the photographer climbs UP a tree to get the shot rather than going for the classic, most unflattering angle ever, shot from crouched down on the side of a trail is a winner in my eyes. Kudos to Bruno Long!

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THERE’S ALWAYS A DISTANCE FOR ME

Some years I feel like running all the kilometres, climbing all the mountains and taking over the world. Other years I fancy something a little less taxing but with the same reward (aka beautiful views and an excuse to eat the donuts at the aid stations). I generally rotate between the Full & Half Pint each year and neither disappoint - whether you like your races short and fast or long and slow, there’s something for us all!

GOLDEN IS GOLDEN!

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What a cool little mountain town! Before running this race I had only ever driven past the town on route to Banff and had no idea about the magic just a couple minutes off the highway.

Nestled in a valley at the base of some mighty fine peaks you’ll find cute coffee shops, a rad brewery, a handful of great restaurants (visited Eleven22 for the 1st time on my last trip there - so good!!) and, of course, a trail runners paradise! And if #neature is your thing, the leaves here in september are spectacular! 🍂

THE TEAM

Maggie, Haley and their team as well as all the volunteers are AMAZING. The race organization is excellent, the on course support amazing and entire community they’ve created is next level. It’s so much more than just another race - it’s like going back to visit family each year, they make you feel so welcome! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦