Canadian Olympian’s Coquitlam Crunch Challenge “Make It Or Break It” time, now the record to beat

The 7th annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge took place on September 10th and the event draws some hardcore athletes each year.  Matt Sessions, former record holder for the Make It Or Break It event, which sees competitors doing as many 4.5 km loops of the Coquitlam Crunch trail within 4-hours, reached a total of 8 loops in 2015. He also held the record in previous years when the event was a 10-hour length.  Sessions did not attend this year, and was said to be away for another athletic event.

This year, Olympic long-distance runner, Tina Connelly, who won a bronze medal in the women’s 10,000 metres at the 1999 Pan American Games impressed the crowd at the Crunch Challenge as she too completed 8 loops just under 4-hours with a time of 3:56.48, a distance of 35.2 km.  Her ‘best overall’ and ‘women’s gold’ performance garnered cheers each time she ran in to cross the Crunch base timing-mat.

“The experience was a ‘challenge’ for sure, but I was pretty confident that I could get 8 loops in,” said Connelly. “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.”

In 2014, retired female track and field Olympian who was once ranked first in the world in the 1500 metres, Leah Pells also took on the Make It Or Break It, doing the most laps of any of the female competitors at the Crunch during that year’s 10-hour feat.

“This is the first year we’ve had professional time-keeping,” said event founder Alex Bell. “In the early years we simply used a stamp card at the top and bottom of the trail to see how many cycles the athletes made in the designated time. Having Trio Sports Events handling our time-keeping this year is a huge asset, and will give our athletes a time to train for, and we hope the incentive to beat at the following year’s event.”

The Make It Or Break It, saw athletes competing in four ages groups (-15 years; 16-35 years; 36-65 years; and 65+ years), and gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded in male and female divisions.

See the official event results HERE.  All photos from this year’s event can be seen HERE on Facebook.

The 2016 Coquitlam Crunch Challenge was proudly supported by the City of Coquitlam, New Earth Marketing, 98.7 CKPM FM, Vancity, Wiivv Custom Fit 3D-Printed Orthotics, Jessica Prasad ilovehomes.ca, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pasta Pollo, Thrifty Foods, Starbucks, MaxFit Movement Institute, Xaler Massage, KD Fitness, and Tri-City Printing.

(Photos by Joep Olthuis, supandshoot.com)

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.

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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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Why you should support the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge…

Many of the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge participants will be out on Saturday, September 10th because they are into fitness, and may be working toward attaining a medal in either the Stair Master or the Make It Or Break It category in one of our male or female four age groups.  Some of those entrants may be competing simply because they want to work on their ‘personal best’ time, and are not necessarily interested in beating anyone. They want the achievement of simply saying, “I did it!”

Then there are those that are coming out because they’ve heard ‘all the buzz’ about the Challenge but have never even been to the Coquitlam Crunch before. They are teaming up with friends and family to finally discover what the hype is all about, and will choose September 10th as the day to finally make it happen.

The majority of those who are coming out on the big day, do so to support community.

Whether you are a serious athlete, working on becoming the best you, or looking for a great outdoor activity that supports community, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge is more than a foot race or about climbing the Crunch trail. The event was created seven years ago by local resident Alex Bell, who’s goal was to create a ‘Diversity Fund’ within the Coquitlam Foundation. “My vision for the future is to have people representing every diversity group to join me in the Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge,” said Bell.

But, just what is diversity?

“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

CC-Benefactors

One man with a vision, and the well-known event has grown by leaps and bounds. To date the event has raised over $16,000. With the growth,  in 2016 the Nothin Dragon Masters team became the new co-benefactors, hosts, and organizers of the event.  This is the same team who who will be helping host and compete in the dragon boat races for the BC 55+ Games at the end of September.

The Coquitlam based 50+ dragon boat team is made up of primarily seniors up to age 80 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 are also involved in the community and mentor challenged youth from the Tri-Cities in the sport of dragon boating through their Kateslem Kids program which came first this year at a regional youth dragon boat festival on Burnaby Lake. They also support the Riverside Secondary dragon boat team who came first internationally at the 2016  Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival.

If you have not registered as yet, we hope we’ve provided a reason for you to do so.  Register online and save time – online registration will close on September 6th, whereupon we still be able to register on the day of the event at 7am.

Can’t make the date, but want to support? You can donate HERE.

The event is proudly supported by the City of Coquitlam, New Earth Marketing, 98.7 CKPM FM, Vancity, Wiivv Custom Fit 3D-Printed Orthotics, Jessica Prasad ilovehomes.ca, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pasta Pollo, Thrifty Foods, Starbucks, and Tri-City Printing.

(Photo: Joep Olthuis)

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Coquitlam Crunch ‘Stair Master’ Competitors Challenged to Beat Helsinki’s World’s Fastest Stair Run!

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.

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At the top of the 437 stairs of the Coquitlam Crunch.

“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.

Registration is underway and for the inaugural year of the Stair Master, the fee to sign-up is only $10! Trio Sporting Events will be providing timekeeping of this exciting uphill foot race.

“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.

Who will be the fastest up the 437 stairs of the Coquitlam Crunch on Saturday, September 10th?

Who will be the fastest up the 437 stairs of the Coquitlam Crunch on Saturday, September 10th?

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 Coquitlam Crunch Challenge has something for everyone and event proceeds will go to the seniors paddling team, Nothin’ Dragon Masters as well as to a ‘Diversity Fund’ with the Coquitlam Foundation.
Online registration now closed – Come out at 7am on Saturday, September 10th to register for the 8am Stair Master.

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.

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7th Annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge Awarding Medals in Four Age Groups

7th annual Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge scheduled for Saturday, September 10th is UNDERWAY and is being supported by the City of Coquitlam and is a #Coquitlam125 sanctioned event. 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 new event organizers Brian Kenny, President, Nothin’ Dragon Masters. “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.”
Age groups are: -15 years; 16-35 years; 36-65 years; and 65+ years. A BRONZE, SILVER and GOLD will be awarded in age group for both male and female divisions. 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 – Fee is $10;
  • 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 – Fee is $25;
  • 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 – Fee (suggested donation) is $20 individual / $40 family.
Save time, and pre-register!

Our pre-event registration is being handled by RUNNING ROOM, and the Port Coquitlam Running Room location is offering PACKAGE PICKUP so you can arrive on event day ready-to-go! Simply go to Running Room, create a user name and password, and sign up!

Online registration closes at midnight on September 6th.

Registration will also take place on-site starting at 7am Saturday, September 10th at the base of the Crunch.
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Coquitlam Crunch Challenge Seeking Volunteers

 

The 7th annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge is set for Saturday, September 10th and volunteers make it happen!

This event which will support the Nothin Dragon Masters senior dragon boat team and the Coquitlam Foundation‘s ‘Diversity Fund’ and is a great way to get out and enjoy a day at the Coquitlam Crunch and give back to your community.

Volunteers are needed for site set up and tear down, registration, traffic control,  photography, and general duties. We also need captains for each category, and for medal distribution.

This year’s event is being timed by Trio Sports Events, and most of the registration is being handled by Running Room, however many come out and register on the day.

If you are able to give a few hours of your time, our event setup will start at 6am on Saturday, September 10th and will be completely wrapped up by 2pm. You can put in a couple hours, or help for the entire time.  Registration starts at 7am, the Stair Master at 8am; Make It or Break It at 9am; and Recreational from 9:30am through to 1pm.

The start point, at the base of the Crunch will have registration and sponsor tents.

We hope you can join us, and we have two Volunteer Meetings planned:

1. Tuesday, August 16th at 6:3o pm in the Butler Room at Dogwood Pavilion,

2. Tuesday, September 6th on site at the base of the Crunch at 6:3o pm (located beside Scott Creek Community Gardens). Enter off Lansdowne Drive

If you have any questions, please direct them to coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com

Thanks for your support!

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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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