UltraMarathon

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

Massage for Runners

Are you wondering what about the best way to recover between Golden Ultra stages?

While stretching, cold river baths and lots of sleep will be critical, so too will be a bit of massage and active therapy.  We are so excited to announce that Golden, BC's own Element Therapeutics and Claudia Richard from Active Vernon Massage will be available all three days to help your aching bodies!

You can sign up for your massage spot online (online registration now closed - Sept 17) if you're worried about getting the prime spots.  Otherwise we will have sign-up at registration and daily after each event.

Claudia Richard is an RMT from Vernon, BC.  Claudia has extensive event experience including work at SingleTrack 6 and BC Bike Race, not to mention she runs ultramarathons herself!  Claudia is also a certified Active Release Techniques (ART) therapist.

Golden's Kristi Easton is RMT with 6 years of experience working with Canada's Ski Cross teams, including a stint at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.  She's also a registered holistic nutritionist so quiz her about recovery food as you're getting your legs flushed.

Element Therapeutics owner, community supporter and physiotherapist Stan Metcalfe will be at the finish line assisting with First Aid when he's not helping runners recover.  

Yoga therapist, yoga teacher, and physiotherapist, Kristie McGregor, will be offering massage service as well as intriguing conversation on total wellness including yoga therapy.  Kristie is particularly interested in movement system impairments and wholistic wellness.

Tessa Keefer is a massage therapist at Element Therapeutics who enjoys both backcountry skiing and surfing.  She has worked at numerous backcountry lodges in BC and in Tofino for 6 years providing apres-surf massage.  

Mountain lover Marie-Michelle Lafontaine finished her physiotherapy studies in 2010 and high-tailed it to the mountains of BC.  An adventure seeker, Marie-Michelle is excited to hear of your Golden Ultra challenges as she helps you prepare for your next run.

Kierra Hautala is one of those elusive Golden-born-and-raised species that is also an avid outdoor adventurer.  Kierra has travelled far and wide to gain experience and training as both an RMT and now Osteopath, and is returning to work full time at Element Therapeutics, starting with the Golden Ultra!

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. 


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.

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.

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 it...it 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.