Coquitlam Crunch Challenge meets goal in 5th year!


I've been enjoying the Coquitlam Crunch since March of this year and I thoroughly enjoy it. The Crunch is an awesome example of what makes west coat life so great.  Keeping fit while enjoying all the beauty that nature has to offer here. It's no wonder that Vancouver has been deemed one one of the healthiest cities in the world.  The Crunch offers great views, all the way to Washington's Mount Baker, and the natural surroundings of flora and fauna, and the odd wild life that strolls through makes each trek a unique experience. My love for the Crunch inspired my interest in the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge which took place on September 6th. It was an all day event with a 6:30am start for the die-hards doing the 'Make it or Break it' category over a 12 hour period; and a 10am start for the 'Recreational' and family category followed with the start of the "Anything's Possible' category which began half way up and included those who are physically challenged.

The event was in its 5th year and was started by Alex Bell, a Coquitlam resident who lives near the Crunch which has increased with patronage through events like his and since the City of Coquitlam has taken time and effort to improve the path this year with a 437 stair inclusion in the steepest part. The event is actually called the Coquitlam Crunch 'Diversity' Challenge, and when looking at the word "diversity" most often in Canada we think first of 'diversity of ethnicity' which this country has become so well known for, but the definition of diversity goes beyond ethnicity and is more so "respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion."

Photos: Robbin Whachell

All that aside, BCers love their fitness and any challenge can draw a crowd.  This event is definitely picking up in numbers each year.  This year had many well-known personalities and local dignitaries and politicians who attended, such as members of Coquitlam council and the BC Green Party.

"Although I started the event, I want this to be for the community," said Bell during a volunteer meeting I attended to take part in and explore the Challenge event at a deeper level. The City of Coquitlam stepped in big this year and offered a grant and organizational help.  Volunteers also assist, some for a few years running.  Bell's teen daughter, is an active volunteer of the event, and put in an amazing 13 round trips only a couple years ago. Factor in that the average round-trip up and down takes about an 1 hour on average to complete, and the event is a 12 hours duration.   The new Women's Record Holder was former Olympian Leah Pells with 12 times, and the reigning Men's Record Holder is Matt Sessions with 17 times.

The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge has grown from humble beginnings of only 25 persons in year 1 to over 150 that hit the trail this year.


This year's event went beyond the expectations of organizers.  "My goal was $3,000 for this year, " said Alex Bell. "My  hope was that we would have $12,000 in the fund after this year's event and due to donations that continued to roll in after last year's Crunch and this year's total we are over $13,000. So, we are at least $1,000 over what I had hoped for. More may still come in like last year." The 2014 event raised well over $4000.

Aside from the fundraising, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge offers those new to the Crunch to check it out and compete competitively or just for fun. It's a great family event, and I'd encourage everyone in the Vancouver Lower Mainland to come and check out The Crunch, and consider competing in the Challenge next year. Organizers are talking about adding a new challenge “4X4” which would be registered teams of 4 to compete in 4 hours, relay style.

I better get training for next year, so I'll see you at The Crunch!

Check out the Coquitlam Crunch Diversity Challenge on Facebook.

Final Crunch