7th annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge a Success!

Under new leadership, and with many new improvements in place, the 7th annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge,  held on September 10th was deemed a success by organizers. This year’s event saw the addition of a timing system provided and overseen by tricity’s Trio Sports Events, and pre-event registration took place through the Running Room, with local race kit pickup at the Port Coquitlam location.  All the event photos can be seen on Facebook HERE.

“Although our numbers were not as high as we’d anticipated, the weather was perfect, and almost everyone that participated said they’d be back again next year,” said Nothin’ Dragon president, Brian Kenny who co-chaired the event with paddling teammate and three year Crunch volunteer, Robbin Whachell. “When the sponsors say it was worth their while, and they want to return, you know the event went well!” said Whachell.

Monies raised from the event will  benefit both seniors and youth through the Nothin’ Dragon Masters senior paddling team who mentor challenged youth, as well as to build the ‘Diversity Fund’ housed under the Coquitlam Foundation, which was created by Crunch Challenge event founder Alex Bell in 2010.  Bell served as an advisor this year and both he and his wife Laurel were actively involved on event day, and Bell had the  honourary roll of handing out the gold, silver and bronze medals for both the Stair Master and Make It Or Break It categories, which were split into four age groups in both male and female divisions.

Adding to the event excitement was the heroic 24-hour Crunch marathon by Port Moody resident Guy Black, who successfully completed his goal with a total of 20 laps of the 4.5 km trail loop from bottom to top and back.

The inaugural Stair Master competitors! Check our results page to see who placed.

The inaugural Stair Masters competitors! Trevor Schmidt (in fluorescent green) was named the Stair Master for 2016. Check our results page to all the times. (Photo: Joep Olthuis)

“Guy’s feat was greatly supported by the community, and he rarely walked alone, even during the night. “A lady named Frida, who I never met before, walked with me Friday afternoon and then showed up at midnight with her daughter and daughter’s friend,” said Black.  “They were wearing bright headlights and arrived at our support tent and walked with me to the top and back. Frida was concerned for my safety and she showed up again around 3:00 am and walked with me once more.” You can read Guy Black’s post marathon recap HERE.

Guy was supported the entire 24 hours by Diane Lee of Coquitlam’s Kang-Ho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy.  Many fellow academy members came out to cheer him on, and walk with him. His effort was also dedicated to Amanda Todd’s Legacy, and Carol Todd was out at the start and completion of Black’s marathon.  On Saturday, Honourary Colonel Ted Hawthorne of the British Columbia Regiment presented Guy with a Colonel’s Challenge Coin for his community work in honouring veterans.


Guy Black completed 20 laps in 24 hours, and is seen here with Honourary Colonel Ted Hawthorne of the British Columbia Regiment who presented Guy with a Colonel’s Challenge Coin for his community work in honouring veterans (Photo: Joep Olthuis)

The Crunch Challenge’s inaugural Stair Master component (group photo seen at the top) had competitor’s run the 437 stairs of the Crunch to see who was the fastest, and a mother, young child and the family dog took the tiresome run up the stairs (doggy first).  Trevor Schmidt was named the Stair Master for 2016 with a time of 2:08.o.  See the official results of the Stair Master HERE.


Several of the competitors in the inaugural Stair Master competition, to see who could run up the 437 stairs of the Crunch the fastest. Trevor Schmidt (far left) was named the Stair Master for 2016. Tara Carruthers (seen third in purple) was the top female competitor. Craig Premack placed first in the over 55; Liam Cotnor in the U15 group; and Carmen Lee in the 16-35 age group. Check our results page for more. (Photos: Joep Olthuis)

“We’ve already been in touch with the City of Helsinki to see about sending our  future winners to attempt their mountain and stair climb which inspired the Stair Master event at the Crunch,” said Brian Kenny.  “We are quite sure our stairs are much harder and longer than the stairs in Finland, and we will invite their fastest stair runner here.”

Although former record-holder of the Make It Or Break It Matt Sessions did not attend this year, some serious competitors came out to see how many times they could do the full loop of the Crunch in 4-hours.  Olympian Tina Connelly took the 2016 title matching Sessions with 8 loops as the new record holder, with a time of 3:56.48 — a distance of 35.2 km.  Connelly said entering was a last minute decision.  “The experience was a ‘challenge’ for sure, but I was pretty confident that I could get 8 loops in.  I planned to do the first 3 loops harder so that I could get a good buffer of time to work with, once the legs fatigued on the last few stair runs, and it seemed to work well for me.  As far as next year, I’m not sure. I think trying to do 9 loops in 4 hrs would be almost impossible for me so, I’m pretty satisfied with what I did here and that may be it for me. I’ll leave it to the young ones.” Read our feature about Connelly HERE.

To view all the results of the Make It Or Break It, click HERE.

“The event is well on its way of becoming a signature sport and community event for  Coquitlam, and has the potential to become one for the Vancouver Lower Mainland, and the west coast region,” said Robbin Whachell, who said she has met people who drive over the Port Mann Bridge to climb the Crunch on a regular basis. “I met a woman in Surrey who told me she carpools with her friends, and they love the Coquitlam Crunch, because it’s a whole lot easier than driving all the way to the Grouse Grind, and it’s free.”


The one to beat in 2017! Olympian Tina Connelly is the 2016 “Make It Or Break It” winner and new record holder with a total of 8 loops in 3:56.48 — a distance of 35.2 km. Check our results page for all the results in four age groups. (Photos: Joep Olthuis)

Next year’s date has already been announced and the event will take place on Saturday, September 9th, 2017. Interested sponsors can contact the organizing team at coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com.

The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge would not be possible without our volunteers, partners and sponsors.

Thanks goes out to the New Earth Marketing; Rod Macbeth and 98.7 CKPM FM The Point Radio; Eagle Ridge Chevrolet, Buick, GMCPasta Polo; Coquitlam Centre; Thrifty Foods  Vancity Port Moody, Wiivv Custom Fit 3D-Printed Orthotics, Jessica Prasad ilovehomes.ca, Starbucks, MaxFit Movement Institute, Xaler Massage, KD Fitness, Tri-City Printing, and the City of Coquitlam.

(Photos by and special thanks to event photographer,  Joep Olthuis, supandshoot.com)


Just some of the faces at Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge 2016 from left to right: Robbin Whachell, Janet Toddington, Mayor Richard Stuart, Sheynal Saujani, Alex Bell, Terry O’Neil, Jodie Wickens and children, Selina Robinson, Laurel Lawson, and Brian Kenny. (Photo: Joep Olthuis)

The Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge is an annual event founded by Tri-City’s resident Alex Bell, which celebrates diversity and supports the Nothin’ Dragon Masters senior dragon boat team and their community programs, and the Coquitlam Foundation’s ‘Diversity’ Fund. The event started in 2010 and takes place at the Coquitlam Crunch hiking trail in B.C., Canada. The Challenge features a Stair Master competition; the Make It Or Break It 4-hour competition; and a Recreational category.

“The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.” – Source


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Guy Black on his 24-Hour Crunch marathon

On Saturday, September 10th, Port Moody resident Guy Black became the first person to walk up and down the Coquitlam Crunch for 24 hours. Dubbed his Midnight Crunch, he achieved twenty 4.5 km loops in the 24 hour period. (Photos above were taken by Joep Olthuis, supandshoot.com)

The following is Guy’s post-event message:

The Coquitlam Crunch 24 Hour Challenge totally surprised me in so many ways. It became a big event – an effort of community. After looking at some photos of myself I can’t believe I did it, and what it became. One photo stands out and that was the one of Diane Lee and I at the top, very late Friday evening, and Geoff Scott was filming us and my face was wet. I did not realize how hard on my body the walk actually was.

I trained for two months to get ready, which included 2 and 3 hour hour runs and 5 hour walks up Mount Seymour, but when I actually saw how steep the Crunch steps were I became very worried and had some self doubt, maybe a lot of doubt, that I could make it.

When the 24 hour Crunch began things went okay and the trail was not too bad but it was quite long and seemed to have 3 different sections to it. Most of my walking time I was accompanied by someone, and we would talk and that took my mind away from what I was doing. At 1:59 am I checked my phone and saw the time, but said to Diane Lee (who was my the head of my support team), “Hey it’s 1:59 am” and she said no it’s not. I said it was probably only 11:00 pm and I checked again and it was 1:59 am – we were so happy time was moving fast.
When we hit 3:00 am I was suddenly hit with feeling very sleepy and just wanted to close my eyes, so I walked with my eyes shut and held on to Diane’s shoulder. When the sun came up Saturday morning and people started to arrive they started to cheer me on and my low energy gradually changed to me walking faster and wanting to push myself harder. Even people in the Make Or Break It “insane” category who were running the entire route for 4 hours of the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge that was now underway were cheering for me. I was more impressed by what they were doing more than by what I was doing.

Each time I reached the bottom of the hill Rod MacBeth from The Point radio station announced my arrival and everyone would cheer. It was becoming a big deal. On my 19th crunch I passed two runners and said to them as a joke, that I would run my 20th crunch and they smiled. That was my joke to them and I had no plans to actually run it. When I found out I had only 45 minutes left and I had finished #19, I decided I would run the last one, so I ran most of the way up and all the way down and passed the two runners and they said to each other, he said he was going to run it and he is doing it. That made me smile.


Honourary Colonel Ted Hawthorne of the British Columbia Regiment presented Guy with a Colonel’s Challenge Coin for his community work in honouring veterans (Photo: Joep Olthuis)

During the night we saw bears twice near the top and I saw several coyotes. Geoff Scott from Tri City Community TV amazed me by spending so much time filming including late Friday night and then he went home and edited everything and put it online. Geoff came back again Saturday, spending most of the day filming. He was just amazing.

Mayor Richard Stewart walked with me many times Friday and Saturday and it was a pleasure to have his company, along with his dog. MLA Selina Robinson walked several times Friday and then reappeared Friday night for a late night walk in the dark. These two people proved their commitment to their community.

A lady named Frida, who I never met before, walked with me Friday afternoon and then showed up at midnight with her daughter and daughter’s friend. They were wearing bright headlights and arrived at our support tent ready to walk, and we made it to the top and back. She was concerned for my safety since I was doing some late night walks by myself and she showed up again around 3:00 am and walked with me. Amazing !

Carol Todd came on Friday and again on Saturday. We are friends and I was walking for her and the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, she helped to keep me going by her just being there.
Honourary Colonel Ted Hawthorne of the British Columbia Regiment is a man who sometimes walks with two canes. I met him half way up the Crunch, and he came to support my walk. He thanked me for what I was doing by presenting me with the Honourary Colonels Challenge Coin. Amazing…

Rod from The Point FM was great and he put the spotlight on me many, many times and every time I arrived at the bottom of the hill he announced my arrival and cheered me on. He said I was his hero for that weekend, but I think he was my hero.

Diane Lee’s Kang-Ho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy, well without them I could not have done the 24 hour crunch. They were there the entire time, they looked after me and made sure I was safe and walked with me. They were the backbone of me being able to make it.

And everyone that cheered me on just made it easier for me to keep going. All of the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge participants cheering for me was great and very surprising;
To Alex Bell, Robbin Whachell and Brian Kenny, thank you for listening to my unique idea to Crunch for 24 hours, and including it in the 7th annual Crunch ‘Diversity Challenge;
And to Linda Reimer for always supporting me and our community;

Coquitlam City Councillor Terry O’Neil who wished me well on my send off and later waited for me half way up the hill;

Mark from Fin Donnelly’s constituency office;

MP Ron McKinnon and Port Moody City Councillor Zoe Royer for continued support;

Moveo Sport and Rehabilitation Centre for fixing my injuries and making me feel better;

Diane Strandberg of The Tri-City News for her great coverage of the event and writing “Go Guy Go”;

CTV for their commitment to our event and coming Friday and Saturday to film;
Global TV for their Thursday morning studio interview;

Kang-Ho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy support team members: Sun Woo Park, Chan Woo Park (brothers); Clinton Lee; Go Takai; Dan Birsan and his son Alex; Ezra Mara; Tetty and her son Kenneth Boediman; Wilson Lee and Adam Altwasser; Tony Shen and Farhang Behrouzi; Anthony and Jennifer with thier son Trevor Ho; Stefanie Putzhammer with her son Peter Hutter; Laleh Kermani with her son Armeen; Joanne Terry with her son Zachary Edwards; Sarah Ha; Serena Lee; Diane Lee, and Manager Kang-Ho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy.

I am positive I have missed a few people I should be thanking, so sorry. In summary the event grew into something big and very special, and was a great effort by many people and most of them I have never met before. There was support and encouragement from people physically pushing themselves as hard or harder than I was.

There were so many people who made sure that I was safe, and helped me to reach my goal.


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Tri-Cities resident aims to become first 24-hour Cruncher

Port Moody, BC resident, Guy Black  plans to become the first person to go up and down the Coquitlam Crunch trail in Coquitlam for a 24 hour period. He announced his plans to the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge organizing team some months ago, and had been training diligently since that time. The attempt coincides with the 7th annual event started by Coquitlam resident Alex Bell who first did the Crunch for 12 hours.

Guy started on Friday, September 9th at 1pm and local dignitaries, Alex Bell, and members and volunteers of the Nothin’ Dragon Masters dragon boat team, who are the new organizers of the event came out to encourage Guy on his start.

Also offering words of encouragement were city councillor Terry O’Neil, Coquitlam; MLA Linda Reimer (Port Moody Coquitlam); MLA Selina Robinson, Coquitlam-Maillardville; Ron McKinnon, MP, Coquitlam – Port Coquitlam; and Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart.

Off he goes! (Photo: Joep Olthuis / http://www.supandshoot.com/)

Off he goes! (Photo: Joep Olthuis )

Guy Black is a member of the local Kangho Hapkido Martial Arts Academy and he is being monitored during his 24 hour attempt by Diane Lee, owner of the Academy.

For his first couple of 4.5 km loops he was accompanied by Selina Robinson, Alex Bell, Diane Lee, and Adam Altwasser. Calling it his ‘Midnight Crunch’, when night fell, Guy used a headlamp for lighting, and adorned himself with purple lights in honour of the Amanda Todd Legacy.  Carol Todd was also present at his sendoff.

Throughout the night, friends and well-wishers stopped by to either walk with Guy or wish him well and offer food and refreshments at the support tent manned by Diane Lee and company.

The feat will culminate on Saturday, September 10th at 1pm, the same time the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge’s Make It Or Break It four-hour segment is over.  The public is invited to come out and cheer Guy on. Each lap he completes, he puts a black mark on his shirt to keep count.  Registration for this year’s Recreational category will go until 11am, and donations will support the Nothin Dragon Masters seniors dragon boat team, as well as the Coquitlam Foundation’s ‘Diversity Fund’.

SCHEDULE of Events.

Why Support the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge?

How to find the Crunch trail.

#MidnightCrunch - Guy Black during his 24-Hour Crunch Marathon. Featured on CTV news Friday night. Guy started at 1pm Friday and will attempt to complete 24 hours! Seen here @ 9-10pm Friday night with Selina Robinson and Adam Altwasser of Kangho Hapkido. (Photo: Joep Olthuis / supandshoot.com)

#MidnightCrunch – Guy Black during his 24-Hour Crunch Marathon. Featured on CTV news Friday night. Guy started at 1pm Friday and will attempt to complete 24 hours! Seen here @ 9-10pm Friday night with Selina Robinson and Adam Altwasser of Kangho Hapkido. (Photo: Joep Olthuis / supandshoot.com)

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