Records set at 2018 Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge

(Photo above: Top 3 in the Stair Master. Left to right is event founder, Alex Bell; Stair Master winner Nick Mcdonald; elite tower runner and second place winner, Shaun Stephens-Whale; third place winner Ryan Watson; and event co-chair Brian Kenny. Photo credit to Jurgen Kaminski)

Date Announced for 2019 Event…

The 9th annual Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge was held on Sept. 8 at the beloved local trail and the event which sees the Stair Master, Make It Or Break It and Recreational categories was a great success. All event proceeds support the Coquitlam Foundation’s community diversity grant as well as the Dogwood Seniors Society’s Nothin’ Dragon Masters dragon boat team and their programs with youth.

The event was opened with an indigenous blessing by Kwikwetlem First Nation, and then words by event founder Alex Bell, as well as a greeting by Coquitlam mayor, Richard Stewart. Oh Canada was sung by Councillor Terry O’Neill.

Stair Master medalists stand for a group photo with event founder Alex Bell (left) and event co-chair, Brian Kenny (Credit to Jurgen Kaminski)

While the imminent call for rain all week may have kept some away, the weather turned out perfect with only cloud cover with ideal cooler temperatures, and no rain fell. Race categories doubled in size from the previous year.

Excitement for the Stair Master challenge was at an all time high with elite tower running, Shaun Stephens-Whale competing. The event had 33 competitors and when it was all said and done, Nick Mcdonald was named Stair Master 2018 with a shocking time of 1:34 beating out Stephens-Whale who took second with 1:40; and in third came Ryan Watson with 1:43. For the women it was Carmen Lee with a time of 2:16.5; second was Tara Carruthers with 2:30.4; and third was Kate Swales with 2:38.2. Medals were handed out in four ages groups. The Stair Master event is now sanctioned with, the Tower Running World Association. View all Stair Master results HERE.

“This is a great event,” said Stephen-Whale who can now include it in his tower running points. “It was very well organized. I’ll be back next year!”

The Make It Or Break It 4-hour challenge gets underway at 9 a.m. Competitors run the length of the Crunch and back as many time as possible. (Photo: Jurgen Kaminski)

Next was the Make It Or Break It (MIOBI) which started at 9 a.m. and completed at 1 p.m. challenging competitors to do the full length of the Crunch trail (approximately 4.5km loop) as many times as possible. In 2017, 8 laps were achieved by a few athletes, but this year, Douglas Race blew everyone away with completion of 9 laps and he had 10 minutes to spare on the 4-hour event! His time was 3:50:04, with second overall being Peter Muralt with 8 laps and time of 3:44:47, and last year’s MIOBI winner, Ray Barrett coming third with a time of 3:49:28.

In the female division of the MIOBI, it was Amy Mazzone with 6 laps in 3:46:26, second overall was Gillian Laing with 5 laps in 3:01:03, and in third was Ramona Toth with 5 laps in a time of 3:19:51. View all results HERE.

“We’re excited about the growth this year!” said Alex Bell. “For our 10th annual 2019 on Saturday, Sept. 7, we really want to focus on getting more families out now that our race events are well attended. This is a community event for everyone!”

Those who participated in the Recreational were also time-chipped and they could go at their own pace or do as many loops as they wanted. Record-holder of the former 12-hour MIOBI loop challenge turned up for the Recreational and put in 5 laps in his blue jeans. View all results HERE.

A father and his two daughters finish the Recreational category which sees them climb the full length of the Crunch trail and back again. A distance of 4.5 km. Number 154 seen here was our youngest participant. (Photo: Jurgen Kaminski)

More growth!  In 2019 the Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge will also be sanctioned by BC Athletics.

“We’d like to thank our announcer, Rod MacBeth,  our tireless volunteers, and our sponsors, all through which this event would not be possible,” said Brian Kenny, Nothin’ Dragon Masters president and event co-chair.

2018 event sponsors were: Nothin’ Dragon Masters, 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,  City of Coquitlam, snapd Tri-Cities, Vancity, Body by Brandt, Rod Macbeth, Running Room Port Coquitlam, Trio Sports Events, Pasta Polo, Magenta Printing & Imaging, Eagle Ridge Chevrolet Buick GMC, Coquitlam Chrysler, Optimum Family Chiropractic, Shaughnessy Veterinary Clinic, lululemon, Starbucks, photographer Jurgen Kaminski, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Phoenix Squadron, and Rotary Club of Coquitlam Sunrise.

ALL EVENT PHOTOS can be seen on our Facebook album HERE. Thank you Jurgen Kaminski!

Alex Bell, event founder; Douglas Race, Make It Or Break It 4-hour overall challenge winner; Peter Muralt second place MIOBI; Ray Barrett, third place MIOBI overall; and Robbin Whachell, event co-chair. (Photo: Jurgen Kaminski)

Dignitaries, special guests, sponsors, volunteers and Recreational category participants during a group photo just before 10 a.m. (Credit to Jurgen Kaminski)

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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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