Marathon hikers take on Grouse Grind challenge for B.C. charity


If you think the Grouse Grind is a challenge, try doing it multiple times in one day.

Roughly 50 hikers hit the North Shore trail at 4 a.m. Tuesday to conquer the mountain’s natural StairMaster in the fourth annual Multi-Grouse Grind Challenge.

The challenge tests a hiker on the number of times they can tackle the North Vancouver trail in a single day, which happens to be the longest day of the year. Last year, Ian Robertson made 16 trips up the steep 2.9-kilometer long Grind. He broke the 2014 record of 15 set by 69-year-old Idar Karlsen.

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This year Robertson, who only stops to wait for his ride down the mountain on a tram and fuels up on Pringles chips and Coke, is aiming for 17 grinds.

“There’s a steep rock garden [and] there’s no way to go through it comfortably. You either have to push too hard or go too slowly and that’s the hardest bit,” Robertson said.

There are some unique athletes who choose to tackle events like ultra-marathons, the Alaskan Iditarod Trail Dog Sled race or the Barkley Marathons, which would make you question their sanity.

WATCH MORE: Bradley Farquhar, a Nova Scotia native qualified for the famous 2018 Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in Alaska

But for the Grouse Grind challengers, it’s all going to a good cause. The marathon grinders are raising money for BC Children’s Hospital. Last year’s event, raised over $21,000 toward the Grind For Kids campaign in support of the hospital.

“Some friends and I call it type two fun. It’s just a different type of pushing yourself,” Robertson said.

If Robertson hits his goal of 17 grinds, at 2,830 steps, it would mean he will have climbed more than 48,000 steps in one day.

All the challengers are definitely pushing their limit for a good cause.

~ with files from Jordan Armstrong

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