Coquitlam Crunch Challenge marks successful 6th year, with major improvements planned for 2016

The weather was perfect for the 6th installment of the Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge on September 12th as the 2015 edition took a shorter 4-hour format. Approximately 200 people came out, and walked or ran the Coquitlam Crunch Trail to support local charities: the Coquitlam Foundation ‘Diversity’ Fund; SHARE food bank; and the Blanket BC Society.

“We are so grateful for how supportive the community and volunteers have been,” said event founder, Alex Bell. “People came forward, on their own accord to offer their support. There is no way we could have raised more than $16,000 since 2010 for the Community Diversity Fund without the support of individual donors, sponsors and volunteers. This fund is now a legacy for our community.” In 2015, the Coquitlam Diversity Fund generated its first grant of $500 to the Tri-Cities Brain Injury Support Group to help fund social interaction and community recreational opportunities for brain injury survivors. With donations still coming in, this year’s event has raised approximately $2500.

The Make it Or Break It category started at 8am, and has sparked a growing competitive spirit over the years. It had 30 registrants, (4 times that of last year) all vying to see how many times in 4 hours they could go up and down the Crunch Trail, which starts beside Scott Creek Middle School and finishes up at Eagle Mountain Drive, 2.2 km from bottom to top.

Over 100 people registered for the Recreational category which started formally at 10am. Refreshments and snacks were provided at the bottom and at the top, along with treats for the kids.  The Kangho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy were out in full force, and not only did they lead the warm up for the Recreational category, but they presented a $595 cheque toward the Diversity Fund.


Jackie Senchyna completed the most loops out of the women with 6, and youth participant, Gracie Lorenson completed 7, both taking part in the 4-hour Make it Or Break it category.

“It’s been interesting to watch the growth of the Make it Or Break it category,” said event founder, Alex Bell. “This year we had an almost even male-female ratio and a few children came out, with the youngest being 10 years old. It was great to see a couple senior athletes also involved.”

Matt Sessions, who is the 12-hour event record-holder with 17 loops, won this year’s 4-hour Make it Or Break it challenge by completing 8 loops. He was followed closely behind by Ray Barrett. With the average loop ‘walking’ up and down the Crunch being around 1 hour, most of the Make it Or Break it  competitors completed 5 – 7 loops.  Winner, Matt Sessions clocked 24 minutes on his first loop. The new 4-hour format, most definitely added the speed component. Out of the women that participated, Jackie Senchyna was the top competitor with 6 laps, and out of the youth,   Gracie Lorenson completed 7 loops.

“The competitors are already giving us their feedback, and although 6 years ago, we started as a simple charity event, we note the dedication of the athletes, and like other competitions, we will have to step it up to include times, age groups, etc,” said Bell, who has already met with his team to review improvements for next year to include down-to-the-second timekeeping, as well as formal top overall male / female and age group recognitions.


Matt Sessions being congratulated as the Challenge winner by founder, Alex Bell at the Coquitlam Crunch trail on September 12th. Matt completed 8 loops up and down the Crunch within 4 hours.

Next year the event is slated for September 10, 2016, and organizers are looking to the corporate community for ideas, funding, and man-hours in order to make the event more efficiently and accurately run. Any persons or businesses who can offer help toward time-keeping, signage and printing, traffic control, event-day volunteers, and t-shirts, are asked to make contact.

“This year we had 20 volunteers that proved invaluable, and we were able to enhance the safety of the street crossings along the trail,” said Bell. “To grow again, we need even more hands on deck and we are looking for people or businesses who would like to be part of our 2016 organizing team.”
A prize was offered to the Make it Or Break it winner, as well as 5 draw prizes were given out provided by Maxfit Movement Institute which included fitness/running assessments and massages. CKPM FM provided 2 extra prizes.  “I’d like to thank all those who stepped in this year to make it one of our best events,” said Bell. “This event is taking on a life of its own. It has the potential to become a signature event of Coquitlam.”

The public is invited to provide feedback, and may do so by emailing You can also join the event email list at  Event photos have been posted to the event Facebook page.  The 2015 Coquitlam Crunch Challenge was proudly supported by 98.7 CKPM FM, Eagle Ridge GM, Maxfit Movement Institute, New Earth Marketing, Pasta  Polo, Vancity, Magenta Printing, Pack and Ship, City of Coquitlam, Coquitlam Foundation, Kangho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy, Northside Foursquare Church, and McDonald’s. More information can be found at


Over $16,000 has been raised for the Diversity Fund since 2010. The Kangho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy was out in full force on September 12th, and presented $595 in collections to event founder, Alex Bell. Approximately $2500 was raised this year and donations are still coming in.

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Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge 2015 Date Announced

The sixth annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge is set for Saturday, September 12th, 2015, and raises funds for community grants that promote diversity awareness, respect and integration. The Challenge is held at The Coquitlam Crunch trail, which follows a route along the B.C. Hydro cut line and offers a great workout, and unobstructed views of the surrounding area including Mount Baker, Washington. 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 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 4-hour format, versus last year’s 10 hours. “For those returning to the event, the news of the 4-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 less categories.”

“We are preparing for a larger event in 2016 coinciding with Coquitlam 125th birthday, which will have at least 4 categories,” said Alex Bell. “We know people have been training for the 10-hour format, but our hands are tied. The 4-hour format is still a fitness challenge and adds more of a speed component.”

The Challenge on September 12th 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 4-hour period between 8am to 12 noon. 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 Here, or register 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 10am, but people may arrive and participate any time between 8:30am and 12 noon. Register online Here, or on the day upon arrival.

Water and sports drinks will be available free for participants.

Optional donations are suggested as $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. You can also bring a non-perishable food item for the SHARE Food Bank, and Blanket BC will also be on site if you’d like to donate a blanket.

In 2015, the Coquitlam Diversity Fund generated its first grant of $500 to the Tri-Cities Brain Injury Support Group to help fund social interaction and community recreational opportunities for brain injury survivors. Donations to the fund can be made via the website

Volunteers make it happen! The organizing team is looking for people to assist with site set up, registration, water stations, verification stations, parking, ensuring safe road crossings along the route, as well as the tear down of tents and tables.

If you have any questions email

See you at the Crunch!

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The Make It or Break It Category

Starts at 6:30am ends at 6:30pm
Walk up and down the Coquitlam Crunch as many times as possible in a 12 hour period and make or break the goal of 10 round trips – the record is 17 round trips.

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Anything’s Possible Trail

Starts at 10:30am at Northside Foursquare.
A paved section of the trail that is accessible for people with mobility challenges wishing to join in the challenge.

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Results Are In!

Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge 2014 Results!

Not only has the 2014 CRUNCH CHALLENGE been amazingly successful as a affordable, accessible community fundraising event, we are very pleased to announce the fund with the Coquitlam Foundation will now be set to start generating grants.

Bob Coss (Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation) has been working with Laurel to finalize the count on donations. Pledge money and donations continue to trickle in after the event. With that being said, we are over $4000 donated!

Participation this year is easily up by about 25-33% which is wonderful .

164 people were recorded on registration forms (including volunteers)

DONORS: 27 people registered as Donors only (not walking)

ANYTHING’s POSSIBLE: 23 registered specifically as/or with a person with mobility challenges

MAKE IT or BREAK IT: 15 registered as challengers

RECREATIONAL: 85 registered

YAY for the VOLUNTEERS (Event day): 52 with a special thanks to Jessica Prassad, Eagle Ridge GMC and Vancity for sending in volunteer teams. Coquitlam Centre and Blanket BC tables were in addition to these event volunteers.

RETURNEES from 2013: 55 from registrations alone, not including supporters who come out but don’t register


NEW Women’s Record Holder: Leah Pells with 12 times

REIGNING Men’s Record Holder: Matt Sessions with 17 times

Thank you again!

Alex Bell on behalf of wife Laurel, daughter Sierra and the rest of our volunteer team

Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge


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Largest Single Donation to Date Received!

In December 2013, Susan Jarema and family of New Earth Marketing and LaborGator donated the single largest donation to date, a cheque for $1,000! Needless to say we were overwelmed (oh well, I guess I needed to say it anyway). This means that we are now only about $1,000 away from our principle goal of raising $10,000 to start the annual Community Diversity Grant.

This is the year to make sure we raise the money needed to make this grant start paying out in 2015. Although we only need $1,000 more, I would like to try and set a goal of raising at least $3,000 for 2014. If you are interested in volunteering to help us make this goal, please drop us an e-mail at: .

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Jerome Bouvier and Michael Coss to open “Anythings Possible Trail”

Last year we experimented with adding an additional category, the “Anything’s Possible Trail” for people with mobility challenges. This year, starting at 10:15am we will begin the official opening with two previous winners of the Courage to Come Back Awards, Jerome Bouvier and Michael Coss. All are invited to come join the ceremony, even those starting the recreational category from the bottom of the trail at 10:00am. The “Anything’s Possible Trail” starts by the Northside Four Square Church on David at the corner of Lansdowne.
Both Jerome and Michael have stories of overcoming diversity challenges despite the limitations others may have seen for them. Both have inspirational books available for sale. Please join us.

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Calling All Women

Everytime I go up the Crunch it seems there are far more women going up than men, yet we still haven’t had a women “Make or Break” the 10 times challenge. This year is the year I want women to come out and beat the men in this category. I know they can do it. If you need incentive, download the pledge form under the donate tab and get pledges for each time you go up and down. See you on September 6th at 6:30am!

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Water and Snacks Provided

Don’t worry about bringing water or snacks, that will be provided for everyone participating (even sports drinks for those going more than one time).

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