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!



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.


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!)


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


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.


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




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!



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!


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?



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.



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!


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!



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!



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! 🍂


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! 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Cross Country Skiing: The Ultimate Winter Cross Training!


Cross training isn’t just an invited break for your legs from the impacts of running; the right activity can actually increase your performance and extend your running season when the trails finally thaw.

Cross country skiing is one of these activities. Because it requires poles and the use of all four limbs, your body’s oxygen uptake is even greater than when running. This means that even the most advanced runner could notice an improvement in his or her aerobic capabilities.

Not to mention - the balance required for cross country skiing is an excellent strength training element that activates key core muscles, priming your body for less injuries when you adjust back into the summer trails.

So: seeking better balance, coordination and want to get outside this winter? Give this minimal impact, nordic sport a try! You might even notice some elusive upper-body improvements!

Things To Keep In Mind

— Cross-country skiing can be much easier with a few technique tips and tricks - consider a lesson!
— If you’re new to the sport - start with classic, which is typically easier to learn.
— Lean forward, not back
— Keep your hands in front of your body to maintain balance.

Looking for a weekend away this winter to recharge, and to try your hand at this wonderful wintery activity? Check out Retreat Golden’s Winter Magic Ski Retreat!

Unwrap your gifts early this year starting with our new course maps!!!

Are you the type of the person that sneaks peeks at your Christmas presents? … reads the last chapter of the book before you’re supposed to? If so, read on. If not… maybe you should wait until our official course announcement in March.

We could not wait any longer so have gone ahead and created course maps for the 2019 routes we’ve applied for… and we’re stoked to share the details with you!! Our Day 1 Blood/Climb courses are staying the same, but everything else is getting a good shake-up. We’ve also posted our 120 km course detail! From distances and elevation, to photos and more, get the goods here (click that button).

You’re going to have to wait until March for information on the ITRA/UTMB points… we’ll submit the courses for assessment once we get the official OK from the government.


For a more detailed look at the local trail systems that we will be running through in the fall, check out these great area maps from Tourism Golden.

Get your loved one the gift of adventure this holiday season!


Here at the Golden Ultra, we believe there’s no better way to show your loved ones you care than by giving them the gift of adventure. Whether they want to accomplish a goal, see an incredibly beautiful part of the world, or do something epic and fun with their crew - it can all happen right here!

Gift cards are the perfect way to encourage a friend to challenge themselves or get your family to chip in for your own running addiction. You can purchase gift cards in our online store and we’ll attach the gift card value to the recipient’s registration.

Our registration prices go up on January 1, so there’s no better time to get on the bandwagon!

Put me in, Coach!

It’s the time of year where our Netflix accounts go into overdrive, we’re still binge-ing on Halloween candy (yes we’ll admit it) and we’re gearing up for some serious holiday dinners. The weather isn’t always cooperating…and let’s be honest - it’s always a bit of an adjustment getting used to the cold again! We know it sometimes takes a little extra kick to get out the door. So we’re offering you an incentive to streamline and focus your training going into the new year.


Sign up with a coach for some accountability and structure in November and you’ll be entered to win a free entry to the 2019 Golden Ultra! All you need to do is show us proof (email, receipt, whatever, we’re not picky) that you’re signed up and we’ll enter your name in the draw.

Not sure you know a coach you want to work with? Check out our recommendations and partners here:

Both Jen Faraone and Magi Scallion are offering 25% off to new clients for your first three months of coaching if you sign up by the end of November.

Jenn Faraone

Jenn Faraone

Magi Scallion

Magi Scallion

5th Year's a Charm!


Many of you have probably seen this smiling face over the years…it’s Ben Yu-Schott!

Ben’s in the spotlight because he has just registered for his FIFTH Golden Ultra. Are you crazy, Ben?! This original gangster has been with us since day 1, and we wanted to take a moment to recognize this dedicated dude who has given us hundreds of kilometres, and countless laughs on and off the camera.

“All of the Golden Ultra runners feel like family to us, and the ones that have been coming since Day 1 hold a special place in our hearts,” reflects Magi. “Ben has always stood out because of his infectious smile on course (even after 60 km) and because he travels all the way from the Yukon, year after year. We’re stoked to have Ben back in 2019… it wouldn’t be the same without him!!”

Here’s what Ben has to say about the Golden Ultra:

This race holds a special place in my heart and it keeps me coming back every year even though it is a long way from home (Whitehorse, Yukon). The organizers and volunteers are awesome. The runners are inspirational. The trails are epic. The format is a unique challenge with the three different stages / races. Golden is a lovely place to visit. The people are now family and Golden feels like a second home. Not to mention that nice Whitetooth beer tastes even better in a Golden Ultra cup that has been hard earned after three days in the mountains. Fall just wouldn’t be fall without the Golden Ultra. I’m stoked to be coming back for my 5th year, in particularly to explore the new 60K course! I hear the 120K race in 2019 will be cool to see too. Can’t wait until September!