Getting to Golden

While Golden, in itself, has a lifetime worth of adventure and fun, there are also some great neighbouring towns that are worth a visit if you've got some extra time on your way to the Golden Ultra.

The closest airport is in Calgary, Alberta (YYC). The drive from Calgary to Golden takes just less than 3 hours, unless you take some extra time to enjoy the beautiful mountains along the way.

As you leave Calgary heading west on the TransCanada Highway watch for the beautiful Rocky Mountains in the distance.  This is a classic view and you can't help but get excited about your trip when you see them peaking above the hills and plains.

Views of the mountains from just west of Calgary.

Views of the mountains from just west of Calgary.

As you enter the mountains you'll appreciate why they're called the Rockies.  Sheer cliffs and rocky mountain tops are everywhere!  Canmore is the first major town you'll pass through, right on the border of Banff National Park.  

The Banff National Park gates can be confusing and, as such, a bit of a traffic jam.  If you don't want to stop in the park at all (drive right through to Golden) stay in the far right lane and you will bypass the gates.  If you want to check out Banff and Lake Louise on your way through, stay left and purchase a park pass at one of the kiosks.  They're good value and you only need to purchase the day pass.

Banff is the first town inside the Park Gates.  If you've never been, it's worth a stop.  Parking in the Town of Banff is nearly impossible to find so it's normally best to take the second exit (Mt. Norquay exit) and park in the parking lot on your left, just across the rail tracks.  From there you can walk into the town in less than 5 minutes.

Some notable things to do in Banff include:

  • Ride the gondola up Sulphur Mountain (or hike up!)
  • Visit the upper Hot Springs for a warm soak.
  • Walk around the Banff Springs Hotel and golf course.  There are some great, flatter trails in that area for an easy run.
  • Cruise the shops on Banff Avenue.

Banff National Park, in general, has lots of amazing sights and trails.  As you drive through you can extend your driving time a little bit with a few side trips:

  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Highway 1A (Bow Valley Parkway) which runs parallel to the TransCanada from Banff to Lake Louise.
  • Castle Mountain and Storm Mountain
Castle Mountain on a moody day. 

Castle Mountain on a moody day. 

The next town you arrive at is Lake Louise.  This is a must-stop town.  Drive up to Lake Louise (the actual lake, not the ski hill... they're on opposite sides of the valley) and snap some pictures.  It is worth it.  There are also some delicious places to eat in Lake Louise, Laggan's Bakery, Trailhead Cafe or any of the great restaurants including the Post Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. Runners have to keep fuelled right?!

The road from Lake Louise onward narrows and you soon arrive in Field.  Field is almost more exciting than Lake Louise - visit Takakaw Falls and Emerald Lake.  Both are about 20 minutes off the highway, but totally worth looking at.  There are also classic running and hiking trails at both areas.  Burgess Pass hike, right from the Town of Field, is beautiful with the most amazing views at the high point.

Views from the trails around Emerald Lake

Views from the trails around Emerald Lake

Once you leave Field you're only 60 km from Golden.  Enjoy this bit.  The speed limit is low so relax and enjoy the mountains.  The final 15 km into Golden are pretty spectacular with a giant bridge over the Kicking Horse River and a spectacular canyon leading right into the town. 

Check out Tourism Golden's website for a comprehensive list of the best things to do Golden. From a local coffee roaster, tasty restaurants and cafes, sports stores and clothing shops, to a new local brewery in the next 12 months, Golden has it all (without even touching on the sports and outdoor adventures)... !

Rookie Phenom Joining Golden Ultra Field

Travis Weller may not look like your typical rookie, nor have the running resume to match the rank, but he's only been running since January 2014.  Fuelled by the runner's high, a passion for the outdoors and a world class beard, Travis is coming to Golden in September to test his shoes north of the Border.

Where do you live & train?

I live in San Francisco, CA and train in the Marin Headlands. 

What are your goals for 2015?

My main goal for 2015 is to continue progressing as a stronger and faster runner. I just began running in 2014 and it served mostly as a learning year. I've been coached by Sally McRae since January of this year and have entered more competitive races. My other goal is to race strong enough to begin securing sponsorships for the 2016 racing year. My passions are traveling and running and I'd love to continue traveling to more competitive races in 2016 with the help of sponsors. 

What are some of your career highlights?

My ultimate highlight is becoming part of the San Francisco Running Company family. I've worked there for the past year and it has presented me with countless opportunities. Our local running community is amazing and I am so lucky to be at the center of it. As I am still very new to running and racing, my 2014 racing highlights included a 5th place finish at Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile (my first 50 miler) and a 6th place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K. I've raced twice in 2015, winning the Folsom Lake 35K and placing 4th at the Whoo's in El Moro 50K. 

What are you most looking forward to at the Golden Ultra?

Like I mentioned earlier, traveling and running are my ultimate passions. I have never traveled North of Vancouver and I cannot wait to see the landscape that awaits me in Golden. The Golden Ultra courses look breathtaking, both in difficulty and scenic beauty and I can't wait to hit the trails up there. I am also looking forward to meeting the other runners who will be taking part in the races and experiencing the local community in Golden. Last but not least, I'm looking forward to the challenge of running with a competitive field during the Golden Ultra. 

This wasn't enough?  More Travis Weller here:


instagram: @beardedgull

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately. 

Swag Sneak Preview

The front of the beautiful, custom Sauce headband.

The front of the beautiful, custom Sauce headband.

Golden Ultra runners are going to get a fine bag of swag including this beautiful, fully customized headband!  

Staying true to our mission of providing sustainable and functional products, we are really excited to be working with Sauce Headwear out of Bozeman, Montana.  Sauce is originally a Canmore, Alberta company and was started to be a source of funding for three cross-country skiing girls pursuing national team and olympic dreams.

All Sauce products are designed and manufactured right here in North America.  This means that not only are we supporting a small business, but we're also reducing our carbon footprint by not buying products shipped from China.  That's a double win for trail lovers!

The stoke is high on both sides of the relationship: "We decided to support the Golden Ultra for a couple reasons," shares Sauce founder Shayla Swanson, "The first reason is that we are really excited to showcase our full custom capabilities and loved the logo for the event.  We just knew that we could come up with something really great for the participants and thought it was an exciting project to show what we can do."

"The second reason is that we are all about providing high quality products that are fun to wear, and fit for athletes of all ability levels.   The format for this event is so great because it provides the ultimate challenge for some of the most extreme runners in North America, while also providing an participation opportunity for those who are less passionate about pain and suffering."

The design features a unique silhouette of the mountain ranges in Golden, BC.

The design features a unique silhouette of the mountain ranges in Golden, BC.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

On Treadmills and Trails: Meet RunEMZ

We are so excited to bring such a diverse group of runners to Golden through our scholarship program and the next winner we want to introduce you to is Emily, or RunEMZ as you may already know her.

RunEMZ is a legitimate running superstar, not in the least because of the milage she logs on a treadmill.  Here's our quick discussion with her about her motivation, running and training for the Golden Ultra.

Tell us a bit about how you got into running…

An ankle injury cut my volleyball career short at a time when I was soaring. It was a devastating injury that left me without a physical passion. I had run a little but mostly only as a part of training for volleyball.  After the injury, I began running, mostly to just stay fit however, I found that each day I craved it more and more. 

I ran my first marathon in 1999 [unknowingly pregnant] where I finished with a time of 4:16. Although I continued to run over the next nine and a half years, I did not run another marathon until December of 2009, finishing in 3:36. This time qualified me for the Boston Marathon, which I ran April 18, 2011.  Once I had completed that second marathon, I knew this running thing was for me! 

How did you enter the ultra marathon world?

I had a friend at my husband's work say, "Okay so we know you can do marathons but why don't you try running a 50 miler?" I couldn't say no. I completed my first ultra in October of 2011. From there the desire to see just how far I could go kept growing. 

We’ve heard you really enjoy challenging yourself with treadmill running?  How did that begin and how often do you run on the treadmill compared to outside?  What drives you challenge yourself in this way?

I began treadmill running in August 2009.  Originally, I began it because my doctor had advised that that would be easier on my joints. I found that it did not annoy, bother or bore me the way it seemed to do so for others. In fact, it was quite the opposite I absolutely loved it. I do 99.9% of my training on my treadmill. For example this past month I ran 330 miles and only 27 of them were outside. Those 27 miles were due to a race-outside. ;) I just love the treadmill. It is just what works for me. 

Do you think treadmill running provides you with an advantage or a disadvantage going into The Golden Ultra?

I'm sure my treadmill running will be an advantage and a disadvantage. I find a huge advantage and the fact that when I get outside time just seems to fly by and I am so focused on the beauty around me that I typically don't see just looking out my sliding door at home. I make sure that my training includes a lot of hill workouts, so I don't think I will be at too much of a disadvantage in this regard. I have completed two trail 100 milers and felt pretty dang good throughout them. 

Tell us about your local running scene.  Where do you most enjoy training, and what will you be taking advantage of to train for the Golden Ultra?

My local running scene is full of a bunch of incredible runners. However, due to my treadmill training I usually only hang out with these individuals before, during and after races. 

Which aspect of our 3 day race scares you the most?  What are you most excited for?  Do you foresee any big challenges going into this unique race format?

I think the tears portion of the race is what scares me the most. I mean the word kind of scares me just reading it. I think when you combine the two days before is probably exactly what will happen out there. But I'm super excited about it. The big challenge with this race will be to do the proper recovery each night leading into the next day’s race. Rest, refueling and recovery will be key. 

You can follow Emily during her training for the Golden Ultra and her other events this year on social media at:

Twitter: @RunEMZ
Instagram: @RunEMZ

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

Volunteers - We Can't Run Without Them

Volunteering is better with friends!

Volunteering is better with friends!

Volunteers!  We love them!  Events simply would not happen without a huge number of volunteers putting out a helping hand.  Just like most events, the Golden Ultra is also in need of some super stars to help us bring all the runners home safely with giant smiles on their faces.

There are lots of volunteering opportunities and we encourage you to select something that interests you.  The more detail you provide on your sign-up form, the better!  The volunteer sign-up form is now online (or click "volunteer" under the Details menu). 

Here are a few of our critical and very interesting roles:

Aid Station - if you have a group of 5 or more people (and a vehicle) you can qualify to host one of our aid stations!  We will provide you with all of the required supplies, a $150 donation to a charity of your choice, and a small budget to get some more food, costumes or bling to really make your zone memorable.

Course Marshal - Course marshals are a critical part of our safety plan.  We need singles or pairs to stand on course to assist in directing runners in the right direction, recording runner numbers & times for our timing and safety program, and cheering.  If you've got some knowledge of the Golden trails (or are good with maps) this could be a great role for you.  It's also fantastic for somebody who can only volunteer for a partial day.

Course Crew - You like to combine your volunteering with exercise?  Well... have we got a role for you.  We need some keeners to help with marking and cleaning up the course.  You get to do it all (on foot or bike) and you get some swag in return!

Finish Line - Ideal for the person who likes to get sweaty hugs and be on the front line of celebrating huge achievements.  We need a few superstars to welcome runners to the finish, make sure they get some nutrition, refreshment and their finisher award.

Registration & Information - If clerical duties at a high rate of efficiency and cheer is your forte, we'd love to have you on our registration and information team.  You'll be the front line of of answering questions, providing information and handing out bibs, swag and smiles.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.

On Yoga and Golden Love: Jessica Pyper Profile

The yoga and trail running retreat is filling up fast and now only a few weekends away, so we thought it high time we shared some information on our Golden local yoga instructor, Jessica Pyper.  Jessica will be working with Kristen Stuart leading the yoga classes and Elinor Fish will guide the running practise.

Tell us a bit about yourself... 

I am a yoga student and teacher. I grew up in Grimsby, ON and moved to Golden, BC in 2009 to spend more time in the mountains snowboarding and studying and I just never left. A typical day for me looks like this: wake up, do some computer work for my business (marketing, social media, planning retreats, etc.), practice yoga, eat breakfast, get outside (either snowboarding or mountain biking- seasonally dependant), garden/house work, dinner, more computer work or work at the restaurant or hang out with friends. For work, I teach yoga classes, SUP yoga classes, workshops, and retreats. I also give Reiki treatments and currently work at a restaurant in town, too. 

When did you start practising yoga?  Why?  What do you love about it - what keeps you practising?

I started practicing yoga when I was 19 - only a few classes here and there. I gradually began practicing more and more and now I aspire to practice everyday if I can. I starting practicing yoga for the physical benefits and kept developing my practice because of all the other amazing aspects of yoga. I love yoga because it centres me and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have an identical twin sister, so growing up was quite a challenge for me - I never felt like I had my own sense of identity and I didn’t really like myself too much. I was always wanting to be someone else- which sounds sad, but it wasn’t, I was very loved… just not by myself. Practicing yoga has really taught me to love myself as I am- it’s the best thing in the world.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

What do you like about teaching yoga?

My favourite part of teaching yoga is teaching my students to love themselves, teaching gratitude, and helping them release their fears. My class is very physical, too, but my biggest focus as a teacher is teaching love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?

I find inspiration for my classes all over the place- usually from my students. I never plan my classes and I base my teaching on the energy level of the group and I always teach a class around the needs of the group that day. Music also inspires me a lot, whenever I create a new playlist, I get pretty excited to teach! 

Why Golden?

I like Golden because of the amazing mountains here. We have such awesome mountain biking and snowboarding- Kicking Horse is the best resort I’ve been to yet. I LOVE the small town vibes and the people here are so rad. If the mountains don’t humble you, the people here will for sure.

What do you think are the most important poses for runners to practise?

Some yoga poses I enjoy after running are hamstrings; any type of forward fold either standing or seated will stretch out your hammies and your lower back. Downward dog is great because it stretches the calves, hamstrings, and back. I also really enjoy low lunges, with the back knee on the ground; if its available, grab the back foot for a deeper thigh stretch. Lastly, legs up the wall is my favourite all-around restorative pose.

Thanks for sharing, Jessica!


The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.