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Coquitlam Crunch lays the groundwork for more diverse community
Coquitlam residents are rallying to help build a more diverse and accessible community — one step at a time.
The fourth annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge takes place Sept. 7, with hikers tackling the formidable trail to raise money for the creation of an Embracing Diversity Community Fund with the Coquitlam Foundation.
Crunch founder Alex Bell said he started the event to draw attention to diversity needs in the Tri-Cities. “Really, it’s to focus on including people with diversity barriers into the community,” said Bell, adding those barriers could be physical or mental, and also include things such as age, language and ethnicity.
The event also serves to raise money for the creation of a community diversity fund through the Coquitlam Foundation. “Once it reaches $10,000, it starts to generate a grant that will be available for community groups to apply for.”
The Make It or Break It category will start out at 6:30 a.m. from the trail alongside the lacrosse box parking lot behind Scott Creek middle school. Competitors are challenged to see how many times they can make it up the trail in a 12-hour period. Last year, Matt Sessions set the event record, making 17 ascents over the 12-hour period.
The recreational category goes from 10 a.m. to noon for those not wanting to push their endurance to the limits but still wish to enjoy the trail and support the idea of a building a diverse community. Participants are encouraged to collect pledges for the event or make a suggested donation of $20.
New this year will be a category for those with mobility challenges.
“The Anything is Possible trail starts partway up the Crunch for people who may be in wheelchairs, people in walkers, those with mobility issues,” said Bell.
One person who will be taking up the Anything is Possible challenge is 2012 Courage to Come Back Award recipient Michael Coss.
Doctors said Coss would never walk or talk again after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2006 motor vehicle accident. Since that time, the former Coquitlam resident was the biggest individual fundraiser for the 2007 Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion campaign, participated in two Terry Fox events and has launched a foundation to raise funds for rehabilitation options for brain injured children.
Coss discarded his wheelchair soon after winning the Courage to Come Back Award and now says he is “pumped” to be using just a cane to take to the trail and lead the way of people with mobility barriers to participate in the event.
Coss will arrive at 10 a.m. for a meet-and-greet outside Northside Church at Lansdowne and David, making his way up to help Bell launch the new Anything is Possible trail at 10:30 a.m.
Bell is encouraging everybody to tackle the Crunch on Sept. 7, both to support a more diverse community and to enjoy the setting of a beautiful local landmark.
“I invite the community to come out and give it a try — once or 17 times,” he said with a chuckle.
• For more information, visit www.coquitlamcrunch.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.