After opening registration for the 2021 Golden Ultra, event organizers were shocked to see their race’s 500 slots all filled in just five hours. Athletes could register as of 9 a.m. MST on November 2, and by mid-afternoon, anyone looking to run the Golden, B.C., event was out of luck. With the fields set (and 150 runners on the packed waiting list), the race will make its return September 17 to 19, 2021, after organizers were forced to cancel this year’s event due to COVID-19.
The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage race. The stages — titled Blood, Sweat and Tears — are 88K, a little under 60K and 22K. Since all runners aren’t necessarily up for a three-day ultra event, participants can run as many or as few of the stages as they like. Magi Scallion founded the race in 2015, and it has been a hit on the Canadian ultra calendar ever since.
In February, it was announced that Scallion had sold the race to the TransRockies Race Series. This year would have been the first edition of the event under new owners, but the pandemic put that milestone on hold until 2021. While this was unfortunate and disappointing for everyone involved, it did give organizers the chance to focus on next year’s race, and race director Kevin McDonald says they will be ready to hold a COVID-friendly run in September.
“I do think there’ll be COVID restrictions in the fall,” he says. “I like the fact that our race is in late September, but we still have a plan in place to make it safe for everyone.” This includes wave starts, adjustments at the various checkpoints throughout the race and restrictions at the end of each stage.
McDonald says they could host up to 700 runners, but with the uncertainty of the coronavirus, they didn’t want to accept too many this far out from the event. “We did a self-imposed cap of 500 runners,” he says. While he and the TransRockies team expected high engagement when they opened registration, McDonald says they weren’t anticipating the race to fill up so quickly. “We have race ambassadors throughout North America, so there was good buzz on social media, but you can never predict something like this.”