The Right Shoes for the Job

The Golden Ultra was designed to test the ability of a trail runner in a number of different trail disciplines - from the vertical challenge to the ultra marathon and the shorter, flatter, faster race. With all of these different styles of running, you might want to considering having a few shoes at your disposal that will perform on the different terrain and meet the technicality needs.

Salomon, the official footwear sponsor of the Golden Ultra and a pioneering trail and ultra running company has provided us with their recommendations to meet the unique challenges of each day.

Day 1 - The Blood

Consider the Salomon Sense Ultra 4 SG

If there was ever a climbing specialty shoe – this is it!  The Sense Ultra 4 SG is a super lightweight and made to go fast. It’s minimalist and low profile design makes it the ideal shoe for going uphill and the super tacky Contragrip SoftGround sole will give you all the grip you need to climb with efficiency. Sense Ultra 4 SG features include:

  • Minimalist 13mm-heel / 9mm-forefoot cushion for total of 4mm drop 
  • ProFeel Film underfoot protection
  • Endofit bootie for extra comfort
  • Seamless upper construction to avoid potential foot abrasion

Day 2 – The Sweat

Consider the Salomon SpeedCross 3

A fan favourite that fits like a glove. There’s  a reason why the SpeedCross 3 is our best selling shoe – it's super comfortable, very versatile and offers great wear & tear for long distance running.  This traditional drop shoe offers very good cushioning at the heel and provides amazing grip with the super luggy Contragrip sole.  Rain or shine, the SpeedCross 3 will get you up and down this 55km loop with ease.  SpeedCross 3 features include:

  • Traditional 31mm-heel / 20mm-forefoot for a total of 11mm drop
  • Sensifit construction for great foot control on the trail
  • Aggressive yet versatile Contragrip sole for the best grip possible on all terrain
  • Rubberized toe, heel and side protection

Day 3 – The Tears

Consider the Salomon Sense Pro or Sense Propulse

After 2 days of hard racing, you’re feet will definitely be craving some lovin’.  Both of these models offer a great cushioning story with a less aggressive Contragrip pattern for moving fast on all trails.  The Sense Pro is a slightly lighter/low profile design – whereas the Sense Propulse offers precisely tuned cushioning and propulsion for the harder striking runner.   Other benefits also include underfoot protection from the ProFeel Film to avoid those sharp rocks on the trail, and a comfortable Endofit bootie to maximize foot comfort.  Sense Pro and Sense Propulse features include:

  • Sense Pro: 23mm-heel / 17mm-forefoot cushion for total of 6mm drop 
  • Sense Propulse:  29mm-heel / 23mm-forefoot cushion for total of 6mm drop
  • Profeel Film underfoot protection
  • Endofit bootie for extra comfort
  • Seamless upper construction to avoid potential foot abrasion
  • Lighter Contragrip sole pattern for lighter trail use

Finally... The Tears!

Selkirk Slacker in all its glory.

Selkirk Slacker in all its glory.

There's nothing like waiting for it... at long last, we present the detailed course description for day 3 of the Golden Ultra: "The Tears."  

This course was a tricky one to design to make sure we hit all the best trails in the Mountain Shadows network and developed a nice loop with no cross-overs.  The final step of the design process was to literally run the course past a couple local runners, including Roger Smith who describes those very trails as his "church."

While this stage was originally going to be “flat and fast,” it’s not exactly flat and probably not fast (it’s technical) but it will be another great day on the trails, and a fantastic way to cap off the inaugural Golden Ultra.

Similar to The Sweat, runners will start at Spirit Square, but this time head across the historical timberframe bridge across the Kicking Horse River and follow the Rotary Trail along the south side of the river for approximately 2 km before the first challenge awaits.

After departing the river banks, the Rotary Trail kicks steeply upward for about 300 metres of pain, or “tears?”  That short shock is followed by another 1.5 km of nice rolling running on double-wide Rotary Trail before crossing Bowie-Evans Drive and into the beautiful single track of the Mountain Shadows trail system.

"The Big Trees" intersection - you'll know it when you see it.

"The Big Trees" intersection - you'll know it when you see it.

Cruising along Selkirk Slacker is pretty nice until the hard left turn onto Quinton’s at "the big trees" and the subsequent right turn onto Huff and Puff - aptly named.  This “inner loop” gets the juices flowing for what’s next.  Huff and Puff is normally descended on a mountain bike but the views and flow go equally well uphill for runners.  Quinton's and Huff and Puff run through a relatively new cut block so you also get to enjoy mountain views.

As you leave the cut block on Huff and Puff you will take a quick right turn down a steep hill to Kobe's, not far from where you left Selkirk Slacker.  Continuing on Kobe's you head south with a bit of climbing, some nice switchbacks and overall great single track.  

Kobe's ends at Huff and Puff (a section that you have not yet run) and subsequent right turns take you on to Magic Dragon and Trial and Error.  While the trail name descriptions through Mountain Shadows sound confusing it's actually pretty easy to navigate on the ground by mostly "staying right."  

Trial and Error and Rock About are two loops stacked upon each other that are run in a counter clockwise direction.  Trial and Error, the first half, is a fun technical, rocky trail that is mostly descending.  It leads you out to a double track and you'll turn right off the double track onto Rock About.  

Some of the cool rocky slopes on Rock About.

Some of the cool rocky slopes on Rock About.

Once on Rock About you go up 11 switchbacks.  It's a great place to do intervals so they've been counted many, many times.  There's a bit more climbing past the top of the 11th switchback but the primary direction is down along some beautiful rocky slopes, back to Trial and Error.  As expected, these switchbacks are just past the half-way mark on the course.

The "last" half of Trial and Error is pretty lush, forested single track and it leads you right back to Magic Dragon.  This next section of trail, Magic Dragon and Cliffside are some of the nicest you'll run if you like visual stimulation.  There are huge big rocks to run through that tumbled down the mountain years ago and a beautiful viewpoint at Cliffside over the Columbia Wetlands.  You'll see why they're so famous for birdwatching and SUP'ing!

Cliffside - the viewpoint - is a happy spot because it also means that the rest of the course is *mostly* downhill.  There are a few short climbs but nothing of note.

The last 2 km is all about river, sky and the wings on your feet.

The last 2 km is all about river, sky and the wings on your feet.

At the bottom of Cliffside, proceed onto Chute the Duck and then take a right on to Selkirk Slacker.  Here's you're 5 km from the finish line and you'll be running essentially the same trails you started on, but back to the finish line.

Check out the elevation profile and download the Google Earth file at  If you're attempting a pre-run of this course, the Golden Cycling Club app or the trail maps produced by Tourism Golden will be infinitely helpful.  Maps can be picked up for free at Bean Bag Coffee Roasters, the BC Visitors Centre, the Chamber of Commerce or any sport shop in  Golden.

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.