Participation in Golden Ultra expected to nearly double last year

The 85 km stage race had 150 runners last year. This year registration is already at 227, and is expected to reach 275.

The upcoming Golden Ultra is a three-day stage race covering 85 km of Golden’s finest trails.

Last year the Golden Ultra attracted some pretty extreme runners to check the area’s trail network. And this year, organizers are reporting even bigger numbers.

“Last year we had 150 runners total. At the moment I have 227 registered, so I think we’ll end up with about 275,” said Magi Scallion, event organizer.

An ultra stage race is quite gruelling, especially when you add in the more than 4 kilometres of elevation gain over the three days.

“It’s the same core event, but this year I’ve added half distances to every stage,” said Scallion. “It opens it up to more people that way.”

Of course even the “half pint” option totals 43.5 km over the three days. As a runner herself, Scallion is excited to be bringing this kind of event to her community, for more reasons than one.

“I chose this weekend for it pretty deliberately,” she said. “If I can do anything to add another week onto the summer tourist season, that’s great for everybody.”

That is why she chose not to host the ultra during the busy summer months, saying it would, “add madness onto madness.” By hosting it on one of the last weekends the resort is open, Scallion is attracting tourists into Golden for a full three days for what is typically a slower time.

“Events like this give people an excuse to check out Golden when they may not have otherwise,” said Scallion. “And quite often they come back.”

Last year the ultra had a racer all the way from Whitehorse, and not only is he coming back, he’s bringing five of his friends with him.

“The newspaper up there also did a story about him doing this race, so that was some nice, unexpected publicity for Golden.”

Scallion is also pleasantly surprised to see that 58 per cent of the registered runners so far are women.

“That makes me really happy to see that.”

There are also 30 local runners signed up already. The other 200 are mostly from B.C. and Alberta, but there will be a good turnout from Idaho, Washington, Yukon and Ontario.

The oldest participant will be 70 years old, but Scallion also has something planned for the younger runners.

“On Saturday afternoon we are going to have a free kids race,” she said. “It’s just a fun event, you can sign up on the day. It’s to get the kids involved, and get the feel of a start and finish with people cheering them on.”

Anyone interested in running the race taking place Sept. 23-24, or just one stage of it, can get more information at www.goldenultra.com. And if running isn’t your thing, you can still get involved. Scallion is looking for volunteers to help out on the race days.

“It’s a really fun even to volunteer for, lots of high energy out on the trails,” said Scallion. Volunteer information and sign-up can also be found on the website.