In 2015 in Helsinki, Finland Marten Bostrom ran 400m in 64.00 seconds in an incredible display of stair climbing prowess as seen in this Youtube video. He managed his ascent by taking every second or third stairs of the 426 climb known as Malminkartanonhuippu, an artificial hill near Helsinki. Not long after, a man named Toni Leinonen, completed the same stairs in a jaw-dropping 58.75 seconds!
Meanwhile in Canada and fast forward to 2016, organizers of the 7th annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge in Canada, have put out a challenge to Canadian athletes to run in this year’s Stair Master on Saturday, September 10th to see who in Canada is the fastest up the 437 stairs of the Coquitlam Crunch. The Crunch is a steep, urban 2.3 km trail that follows a route under large hydro power lines and is Coquitlam’s version of the Grouse Grind, a well-known hiking trail in Vancouver.
“We are very excited about this new category in the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge,” said event founder, Alex Bell. “So many people come to the Crunch just to do the stairs which were put in by the City in 2014. The Crunch is always open to the public during our annual challenge, but this year we will close the stairs (but not the side path) for 30 minutes or less to put on the Stair Master challenge,” said Bell.
“We feel our Stair Master climb is just as difficult as the Helsinki version and we have more bends and wider steps in some portions, as well as 9 more stairs!” said Brian Kenny, co-chair of the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge and president of the Nothin’ Dragon Masters dragon boat team who are the new event organizers. “It will be interesting to see who takes the challenge, and what the fastest time will be. We also encourage anyone to work on their personal best over the years ahead.”
The Stair Master will see competitors starting at 30 second intervals, and those that cannot make it to the top on a run, are asked to step to the side path to continue up walking, as not to impede the next contestant running the stairs after them.
Once the Stair Master is completed, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge’s signature event, the Make It Or Break It which start at 9 am. It challenges competitors to run or walk the full Crunch trail loop of 4.5 km as many times as possible in 4 hours. Medals will be awarded in four age groups and in male and female divisions for both of these competitions.
If the Stair Master and the Make It Or Break It sound too exhausting, there’s the Recreational category for families and individuals who want to go at their own pace. “All participants will have time chips and bibs,” said Brian Kenny. “We think the children will get a kick out of being in the event, and everyone will leave knowing their time up to the top and down.” The Recreational portion starts formally at 10 am, right after a fun family-friendly warmup by local fitness guru, Krista Langtry at 9:45 am.
The event is a City sanctioned #Coquitlam125 official event, and is proudly supported by New Earth Marketing, 98.7 CKPM FM, Vancity, Jessica Prasad ilovehomes.ca, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pasta Pollo, Thrifty Foods, Starbucks, and Tri-City Printing.