Skyrunning

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:

website: www.tsweller.com

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. 


8 Golden Ultra Training Tips

We asked popular coach and running streaker, Derrick Spafford, for some Golden Ultra training tips.  You won't believe what happened next...  (we got some great advice!).

1. Train Hard

To successfully complete any race in the Golden Ultra weekend of races, you need to commit to training hard, consistently and smart. The distances and terrain at the Golden Ultra are challenging, so regular training averaging five times per week of running and cross training over the final few months are key. Gradually lengthening your long runs to the three to four hour range should be enough to prepare most runners to complete their chosen races.

2. Do your Hill Training

Hill training is the most important form of training that you can do to prepare for the Golden Ultra. Getting comfortable running (and hiking) uphill and downhill is vital. Alternate between hills that are long and gradual and those that are shorter and steeper. If you don’t have access to hills or mountains, be sure to hit the incline on a treadmill as a substitute. With the highest point of the course cresting over 2,400 meters, the altitude will also pose a challenge. If you don’t live at altitude, making sure that you regularly run intense anaerobic hill repeats in training will help to prepare you for what you will be experiencing at the higher elevations on the course.

3. Try Back-to-Back Long Runs

If you are running two or three of the Golden Ultra races, you’ll want to add some back-to-back longer runs in the final 6-8 weeks before the race. A typical example would be a three hour hilly run on the first day, followed by another two hour hilly run the following day. This is a great way to get your body used to running while already fatigued. Make sure that you recover well with additional rest days and light running days after B2B runs for several days before your next hard session or long run.

4. Engage Cross Training

Add additional specific types of cardio cross training (Elliptical, Mountain Biking, Stair Master, Stepmill) to your training week to boost your climbing fitness. Adding one to two days of specific cross training weekly will allow you to increase your volume without the risks of adding more running days, and with the benefit of working different muscles that will come in handy with all the climbing.

5. Add some Strength Training

A strong core, in addition to strong legs, is important for helping you to power up the climbs and stabilizing on the descents. Basic core exercises such as planks, abdominal crunches, and other stability exercises should be performed two to three times per week.

Additional leg exercises such as walking lunges, single leg squats, calf raises, and some bounding drills are also helpful for your climbing and descending muscles and to prevent you from overloading these muscle groups on race day.

6. Plan and Test your Race Day Nutrition

Stay on top of fuelling, hydration and electrolytes early and often during the race to ensure you’re well fuelled throughout each day. Be sure to get a moderate amount of carbs and protein into you asap after each stage to aid in recovery, especially if you’re doing multiple races over consecutive days.

7. Practise Mountain Running Form

Shorten your stride and maintain your stride turnover rate and effort on uphills. Run tall, don’t lean excessively forward at the waist. Hike any uphills necessary to maintain the same effort or heart rate. For downhills, make sure you relax and run with quick steps. Don’t brake or overstride, run with the momentum of the hill. Look ahead and pick your line through any technical sections.

8. Test your Gear

Don’t make a rookie mistake and try out new gear on race day. Be sure you wear the shoes and other gear that you have tried in long training runs to ensure that everything works well for you. Make sure you choose the footwear that gives you the traction and protection that you need for the conditions of the race. Trekking poles can provide a big help in climbing and descending; if you plan to use them on race day, be sure to get lots of practice with them in training.


Derrick Spafford has over 30 years of competitive running and coaching experience. He has competed in hundreds of races in distances from 800 meters to 100 miles; from track to ultramarathons. While he enjoys competing in a variety of different events, his current favourite races include trail, mountain, ultra and snowshoe running races.  For more information on Derrick's personal coaching services, please visit: www.healthandadventure.com

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.

Make your Golden Ultra Moves Count with Suunto

The training partner of choice for most trail runners has joined the Golden Ultra sponsorship pool for the next three years.  Suunto, the GPS watch manufacturer from Finland, will be helping Golden Ultra runners train and share their successes via MovesCount.

"What do I like about my Suunto watch?  It's difficult to itemize the entire list, but the battery life is unbeatable and the Moves Count interface (and Strava link) is pretty cool.  I love my "beers earned" app, especially on the hot and sunny running days." shares Golden runner, Roger Smith.  "On a more serious note, the cadence feature on the Ambit 2R is really useful for my intensity workouts."

Golden Ultra organizers will be using Suunto’s Ambit 2R to map, measure and detail all three of the Golden Ultra stages.  Watch for links to the Moves Count moves online and download the moves to your watch for easy navigation on your training runs. 

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.  For more information, please visit www.goldenultra.com.

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!

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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. 

Mueller Pacing for Top Spot in Women's Field

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Mueller winning the 2014 Grizzly UltraMarathon

Nadine Mueller is no stranger to epic races, the Golden Ultra might even be tame for her.  As the reigning champion and course record holder of of the Grizzly Ultramarathon in Canmore and silver medallist at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Running Championships, Nadine is clearly a great runner.  That's not all she is, though.  She's also four-time solo champion of 24 Hours of Adrenalin and age group world champion in Xterra triathlon.

We caught up with Nadine between her training sessions to see how her training is coming along for the 2015 Golden Ultra.

Where do you live and train?

I spent the past few years living in Canmore but have recently moved to Victoria, BC.  It's been great so far and I love all the running and biking trails.  The west coast cities are great for their mountains and trails so close to the urban center.

What are your goals for 2015?

I've had a pretty big life change this past year, so just being able to train during this huge lifestyle adjustment is a bonus. Due to my circumstances, I've had to adjust my goals for this year. I have two main goals: the first is to podium at the Singletrack 6 (6-day mountain bike stage race) on a 2-women competitive team and the second to is to keep up with the elite runners and 'successfully' complete my first ultra-running stage race at the Golden Ultra in September.

Nadine with her bike.

Nadine with her bike.

What are some of your career highlights?

I had a successful year last summer in which I finished 3rd in my category in the ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships in Zittau, Germany, finished 1st for the 4th consecutive year at the 24 Hr Adrenalin Solo Mountain Bike Race in Canmore, AB, finished 1st in my age category at the XTERRA Triathlon World Championships in Maui, HI, and finished the racing season, winning and breaking the female course record at the Grizzly Ultra 50km Trail Run. 

What are you looking forward to at the Golden Ultra?

I'm looking forward to running alongside and learning from the elite ultra-runners during my transition into ultra distance running. I'm excited to enter my first ultra running stage race, albeit an inaugural ultra stage race, and being among other like-minded runners during 3 days of pure suffering bliss where friendships will be made and stories exchanged!

What motivates you?

I'm still searching for that answer myself...LOL! People ask me where I get my determination and discipline but I think it's just me wanting to push myself and see how far I can go. You usually can always go further than you think..."Just one more..." seems to be my saying as well as "It's not pain, just manageable discomfort!"  I'm always up for new challenges!

We're looking forward to having you in Golden in September, Nadine!  

The Golden Ultra is a 3-day trail running stage 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.

Salomon Joins Golden Ultra Team

Salomon, the leading trail running shoe in Canada and the footwear of choice of top trail runners worldwide, has selected the Golden Ultra to be one of their keystone Canadian events in 2015. 

As presenting sponsor of the 55 km SkyRunner Ultramarathon Sweat stage, Salomon will have a heavy presence at the Golden Ultra.  From inviting top runners to setting up in style with a full demo fleet, Salomon Canada representatives will be romancing runners with a flourish.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be a presenting sponsor for the Golden Ultra,” says Canadian Marketing Director, Phil Villeneuve.  “Even in its first year, the Golden Ultra is already one of Canada’s most exciting trail running events so we’re really lucky to have signed a three year agreement with the event.”

“It’s been our mission to align with companies that share our passion for professional, high quality products and events.  We are very happy to have a company like Salomon affiliated with the Golden Ultra, especially as a presenting sponsor,” commented Golden Ultra Race Director, Magi Scallion.  “Salomon’s presence at the event will help bring it to the ‘next level’.”

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.