Coquitlam ‘Stair Master’ Challenge Attracts Elite Tower Climber

Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge organizers created the Stair Master component of the event three years ago to provide another option for fitness advocates to support the charity that promotes diversity. The Stair Master sees competitors running up the 437 timber west stairs of the Coquitlam Crunch trail to determine the fastest ‘Stair Master’ in four ages groups for both male and female athletes. The Stair Master is the first event of the day and will start promptly at 8 a.m.

This year, elite tower climber Shaun Stephens-Whale of Roberts Creek, B.C. will be joining those vying for the title on Saturday, Sept. 8  and he’s registered in the 16 – 35 age group.  Shaun is known for competing in such stair races as the Eiffel Tower climb in Paris, France;  the Rainier Tower climb in Seattle, Washington; and he’s the current record-holder for the CN Tower climb in Toronto.

The 28-yr-old said his love for running started at the age of 12, when he saw a brochure for the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall event at the Sheraton Wall Centre. “At the time I already considered myself a serious runner, competing in many of the Vancouver’s local road races. The thought of running up a building was both a nauseating and exhilarating proposition – one that still captivates me to this day.” Shaun prepared for that first race by sprinting up and down the single flight of stairs in his living room while his dad sat on a couch, encouraging him and calling out splits. “50 times up, that was the goal, and four minutes of burning would just about get me there.”

“Of all the different types of training I do, none puts the body in more agony than a hard stair workout: lungs burning, legs flushed with lactic acid, vision squeezed as stars start to appear in your periphery,” said the former University of Victoria student who has decided to chase his dream of becoming one of the best tower runners in the world.

Tower running has seen tremendous growth with races occurring all across the globe and federations like vetting for the world’s best racers. Alongside the growth in competitiveness, stair climbing as a fitness and wellness tool is becoming more recognized with campaigns such as Take the Stairs Day. “This shouldn’t be surprising,” says Shaun, “as there is perhaps no better way of getting a quick, effective, full body workout than going up stairs.”

Although Shaun is now a serious contender for the 2018 Stair Master title at the 2018 Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge, there are four age groups (15 yrs and under, 16 – 35 yrs, 36 – 64 yrs, 65 yrs or over) in both male and female divisions. A total of 24 medals (gold, silver, bronze) will be handed out for the Stair Master.

In 2016, the inaugural Stair Master had only nine people take part and Trevor Schmidt was the overall winner with a time of 2:08. With the event growing to twenty-five competitors in 2017, the overall winner was Steven Hughes with a time of 2:00. Despite doubling in size, the Stair Master only saw two competitors in the 15 and under age group, and that was Nathan Chow and Liepa Bajarunas, who both walked away with a gold medal. There were no entrants in the 65+ age group. This category will be evaluated for the global ranking of the TWA (Towerrunning World Association)

“We’re very excited to have Shaun competing this year!” said Alex Bell, event founder.”So many people come to the Crunch just to do the stairs. We know the Stair Master will grow, and we want to encourage all ages to try it. I know that there are some fit seniors out there, because I see them on the Crunch, and there are loads of Tri-Cities youth that would make the stairs look easy.”

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. The Crunch trail remains open to the public during the challenge, but the west stairs will be closed from 8 – 8:30 a.m. for the Stair Master. Crunch users will be able to cross over and use the new east stairs during that time.

Online registration is now underway thanks to Running Room, and timing is being handled by Trio Sports Events.   Registration for the Stair Master is also available on event day  (on location) at 7 a.m.  — Stair Master starts at 8 a.m. sharp. Registering online allows you to pick up your race kit in advance.

The 9th annual Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge supports the Coquitlam Foundation’s  Community Diversity Fund, as well as the Dogwood Seniors Society’s dragon boat team, Nothin’ Dragon and their youth mentoring programs.

The 2018 event is supported by New Earth Marketing, Sandpiper Signs & Decals, On Track Dental, Oddball Workshop Apparel, Joep Olthuis of Shutter Up & Shoot, The Tri-City News, Yellow Dog Brewing, Mariner Brewing,  Magenta Printing & Imaging, City of Coquitlam, snapd Tri-Cities, Vancity, Body by Brandt, Rod Macbeth, Pasta Polo, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC,  Coquitlam Chrysler, Optimum Family Chiropractic, Shaunnessy Veterinary Clinic, lululemon, Starbucks, Jurgen Kaminski, and Hydro Pop Event Services Inc.

Get a reminder by RSVPing at the Facebook event page.

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 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.


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

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On Track Dental supports Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge

Organizers of the Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge are pleased to announce the support of On Track Dental who have come on as gold sponsors of this year’s event on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Coquitlam Crunch hiking trail.  On Track Dental in Port Coquitlam offers a variety of dental services by Dr. Myrna Pearce, Dr. Candace Woodman, and Dr. Darren Zomar.

All proceeds from sponsorship and monies raised at the event will go toward the Coquitlam Diversity Fund.  Funds also support the Dogwood Seniors Society’s  50+ dragon boat team, the Nothin’ Dragon Masters and their community initiatives.  The team has been coordinating the event for the past three years.

“Initiatives like the Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge and programs offered by Nothin’ Dragon celebrate community spirit, healthy life choices and reach out to be inclusive to all,” said Dr. Myrna Pearce. “It is our pleasure to sponsor such a great community activity.”

On Track Dental joins other generous sponsors like New Earth Marketing, Sandpiper Signs & Decals, Shutter Up & Shoot, Oddball Workshop Apparel, Vancity, Body by Brandt, snapd Tri-Cities, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC,  Pasta Polo, 3D Basketball Academy, Optimum Family Chiropractic, Shaunnessy Veterinary Hospital, and the City of Coquitlam.

Would you like to support? To become an event sponsor email

Registration is underway for the 9th annual event and registering online in advance will save you time and money.  You can also pre-order your event t-shirts and pick them up before event day along with your race kit.

Whether you are a novice or serious athlete; working on becoming the best you; or if you are simply looking for a great outdoor activity that supports community, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge is for you! The 9th annual event starts at the base of the Coquitlam Crunch at the Scott Creek Community Gardens and the full loop (up and down using the west stairs) of the Crunch trail is approximately 4.5 km, taking the average person (walking) anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours.

Three ways to participate:

Starting at 8 am the Stair Master  challenges athletes to see who is the fastest running up the 437 west 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.

Age groups: -15 years; 16-35 years; 36-65 years; and 65+ years. A bronze, silver and gold will be awarded in age groups for both male and female divisions for the Stair Master or the Make It Or Break It categories.

Many of our entrants participate 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!”

Water and sports drinks will be available free for participants, thanks to our sponsors.

If you, or your business,  or community group would like to get involved please email us at

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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.

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