The Golden Ultra is not for the faint of heart. That much is clear by the race’s staggering, raw statistics. Three days. Nearly 4000m of elevation gain. Eighty kilometres.
The stage names are aptly titled: The Blood, The Sweat and The Tears.
Magi Scallion, the Ultra’s organizer, is a long time event planner and when she moved to Golden it became a natural fit for her to organize a race like this, and she was encouraged to do so by her friends in town.
“It took me two or three years to wrap my head around what I thought could be a really successful event,” Scallion said.
“Sometimes with events, you put a lot into them and they just don’t provide the return that’s necessary so it took me a long time to wrap my head around what I thought would work well here in Golden. The beautiful thing about trail running is that the trails here are fantastic, absolutely world class.”
It’s also easier to organize races on trails, despite some additional safety measures that are required. While road races require extensive traffic control, that won’t be necessary for the Ultra.
Scallion’s goal for the race is to promote trail running and to make Golden a destination for trail runners in both Western Canada and the Northwest United States.
“This year I’m taking on a lot of initiatives that are more destination-oriented. (I’m) promoting local businesses directly to our runners just to create an awareness of the town.”
Scallion is hoping to have 300 runners participate this year, a number she is on track to reach with 95 registered already for the September 18-20 event, many of whom are coming from Alberta, but Scallion is also hoping to reach into the U.S. states of Washington, Montana, Idaho and Oregon.
“The fact that it’s a longer event, a three day stage race…that attracts people to travel for the event as opposed to a shorter race,” she explained.
Long-term, Scallion hopes that the Ultra earns a reputation as a must do for runners in the region.
“I’d like to see it grow, maybe in five years have up to 1000 runners. Obviously it has to remain sustainable and doable. If we’re at 300 or 500 and we realize that maybe the town can’t handle that many or if the parking situation isn’t good, then that’s where we’d look at capping it.”