The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge Under New Leadership

The 7th annual Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge is set for Saturday, September 10th, 2016 and will continue to raise awareness for initiatives that embrace diversity in Coquitlam. Founded in 2010 by Coquitlam resident Alex Bell, the event, which gives competitors the chance to see how many times they can go up and down the Coquitlam Crunch in 4 hours has experienced exponential growth. It started as a 12-hour event, and last year’s switch to the 4-hour format was greatly received.

Due to unforeseen circumstances and the event’s rapid growth, Alex Bell has handed the event over to the Nothin’ Dragon Masters team of Coquitlam, a group of dragon boaters made primarily of seniors who refuse to sit idle. This diverse group, while dealing with the challenges associated with aging, aim to keep an active and healthy lifestyle. Not only does the club support close to 70 masters (male and female) athletes who compete throughout the year, they also mentor challenged youth from the Tri-Cities in their sport; and they support the Riverside Secondary dragon boat team.

“I’ve always wanted this event to go to the community,” said Bell, “and I’m so pleased that Nothin’ Dragon has enthusiastically stepped in. I know they will do a great job.”

The event is being supported by the City of Coquitlam and is a #Coquitlam125 sanctioned event. The Challenge starts at the base of the Coquitlam Crunch at the Scott Creek Community Gardens and the full loop (up and down) of the Crunch trail is approximately 4.5km, taking the average person (walking) anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours. The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge offers something for everyone whether you are a hardcore athlete, or you just want to get out in nature and exercise alone or with your family or friends.

Here are the three ways to participate:

  • Starting at 8 am the Stair Master  challenges athletes to see who is the fastest running up the 437 stairs of the Crunch;
  • From 9 am to 1 pm, the Make It or Break It category challenges athletes to see how many times they can go up and down the full length of the Crunch within 4 hours;
  • From 9:30 am to 1 pm with a formal start at 10 am, the Recreational category simply encourages everyone to come out and support community, get some exercise, enjoy the day and try to complete the Coquitlam Crunch at least once or even twice in 2 hours.

In 2015, overall winner, Matt Sessions completed the 4-hour Make It Or Break It with a total of 8 loops. Jackie Senchyna was the top female competitor with 6 loops, while top youth competitor was Gracie Lorenson with 7 loops.

“Competitors who compete annually have given their feedback through our Facebook page, and although 7 years ago, we started as a simple charity event, we noted the dedication of the athletes, and like other competitions, we realized we had  to step up our game,” said Bell, who will remain on as an event advisor.

Under the new management, the 2016 edition will bring in professional timekeeping thanks to TRIO Sports Events, and registration is being handled by the Running Room. “This year everyone will have a bib and time chip,” said president of the Nothin’ Dragon team, Brian Kenny. “We’re excited to also offer gold, silver, and bronze medals to our top three competitors in the Make It Or Break It and the Stair Master for both male and female in four ages groups.”

Water and sports drinks will be available for free for participants thanks to generous sponsors.  The Stair Master is a $10 entry, and the Make It Or Break It is $25. All entries $20 or over will warrant an optional tax receipt. Suggested donations for the Recreational category are  $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. Registration is now underway.

Corporate sponsors are still being sought and are encouraged to get involved in this health-conscious and inclusive initiative by emailing coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com Event organizers wish to acknowledge their sponsors: New Earth Marketing; 98.7 CKPM FM Tri-City Radio; Eagle Ridge Chevrolet, Buick, GMCPasta Polo; Coquitlam Centre; Thrifty Foods and the City of Coquitlam.

[Photo Caption: The Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge changes hands in 2016 as the Nothin’ Dragon Masters will now take the helm of the popular Coquitlam event. Seen here left to right is: Robbin Whachell, three-year volunteer for the Challenge and Nothin’ Dragon member; Alex Bell, Founder, Coquitlam Crunch Challenge; and Brian Kenny, President, Nothin’ Dragon Masters.]
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