Take the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge

The sixth annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge is set for Saturday, September 12, 2015. This yearly event raises funds for community grants that promote diversity awareness, respect and integration. The Challenge is held on the Coquitlam Crunch trail, which follows a route along the BC Hydro cut line and offers a great workout, and unobstructed views of the surrounding area including Mount Baker and Washington State.

The Crunch is a less intense version of the Grouse Grind and the 2.2km trail starts below Lansdowne Drive and finishes at Eagle Mountain Drive. The average round trip (walking) takes about an hour. In early 2014 the City of Coquitlam helped make the trail safer by putting in the 437 new stairs along the steepest section. The handy number placards every 25 steps help you track your progress as you huff and puff your way up.

This event was created in 2010 by local resident Alex Bell and his family. Last year the event raised well over $4000 for the Community Diversity Fund (held and administered by the Coquitlam Foundation) which provides grants to Tri-Cities’ individuals, non-profit organizations, or community groups initiating actions, programs or education aimed at improving integration and participation by diversity groups, identified by the community as being socially or financially marginalized.

This year’s event will have a new shortened four hour format, versus last year’s 10 hours. “For those returning to the event, the news of the four hour format for 2015 may come as a surprise,” said event founder, Alex Bell. “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had two choices this year; either to postpone the event one year, or to put out a shorter format with fewer categories.”

“We are preparing for a larger event in 2016 coinciding with Coquitlam’s 125th birthday, which will have at least four categories,” Bell continued. “We know people have been training for the 10 hour format, but our hands are tied. The four hour format is still a fitness challenge and adds more of a speed component.”

The Challenge on September 12, 2015 can be competitive or simply for fun. It’s a great family event, open to anyone of any athletic ability.  There are two ways you can participate:

  1. The “Make it or Break” category for the die hard Crunchers. Participants walk or run the trail as many times as possible in a four hour period between 8:00am to 12:00noon. Matt Sessions holds the 2012 (12-hour) record of 17 sets (which he repeated in 2014) when there was 12-hours allowed for this category. Register online at www.coquitlamcrunch.com or on the day at 7:30am.
  2. The “Recreational” category for individuals or families who can walk the Crunch at least once. Start time is formally at 10:00am, but people may arrive and participate any time between 8:30am and 12:00noon. Register online at www.coquitlamcrunch.com or on the day.

Water and sports drinks will be available free for participants.

Optional donations for participants is suggested at $20 for adults, $10 for youth or $40 per family. However no donation of any amount will be refused, and participation is welcomed without the requirement of a donation. (Donations can also be made directly at coquitlamfoundation.com by clicking on the Donate Now button and selecting “Coquitlam Diversity Fund” from the drop-down menu.) A food box will be on site for the SHARE food bank, which tends to be very low at this time of the year, and participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item.

In 2015, the Coquitlam Diversity Fund generated its first grant to the Tri-Cities Brain Injury Support Group to help fund social interaction and community recreational opportunities for brain injury survivors.

“Although I started the event, my intention was for it to become a community-driven one,” said Bell who has seen the event grow exponentially, and each year a variety of local businesses and volunteers have stepped up to offer their help.  “Please come out and support this worthwhile cause!”

Building up to the event, Alex Bell will lead a recreational guided hike up the Crunch and beyond to Ridge Park Bluffs on Sunday, August 30, 2015. This three hour hike will start at the Coquitlam Crunch parking lot at 8:00am and is for anyone capable of walking up the Crunch. The 8km route will circle back to the parking lot and will offer amazing views over the Lower Mainland. All are welcome, and it is suggested to bring water and a camera. Queries about the hike, or the Challenge can be directed to coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com.

See you at the Crunch!

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