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North Vancouver, September 19, 2010 – Twenty-three year-old Sebastian Salas set a new course record of 25 minutes and one second at the 20th BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run today. Just last month he smashed the unofficial time (set outside the annual race) with a stunning climb that took him only 23 minutes and 48 seconds. The race this morning drew over 500 participants and raised funds for Grind For Kids, a local annual initiative that supports BC Children’s Hospital. Whistler Water matched the event day fundraising (in the neighbourhood of $10,000, the tally is still being finalized) to bring the total charitable contribution from the historic 20th race to $20k.

“There were a lot of points where I thought I would blow up, but I wanted to show that I still had the fitness to set the record,” says Salas, “There are a lot of good athletes here and they went all went out really hard, but I’m happy to still be the fastest.

The BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run draws several hundred professional and amateur competitors from across the country each year, to beat their best times established on the gruelling course throughout the season. Sebastian raced against a fleet-footed group of competitors, including former Grouse Grind record holder and three-time race winner Mike Simpson. Canada’s top finisher in the 2010 World Mountain Running Championships, Kris Swanson, was racing in the competition.

The fastest women’s time was 31:18 run by Sarah Baker, who was close to the female course record time of 31:04 set by Leanne Johnston in 2007 (finishing second in today’s race). 

The historic 20th race benefits Grind for Kids, which has been underway all summer and very successful to date. Grind for Kids has raised close to $200k for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Race sponsor BMO Bank of Montreal enters its sixth year as title patron of the popular community event. “It’s all about being an active and supportive member of the community,” said Joanne Gassman, Vice President, Vancouver Suburban District, BMO Bank of Montreal. “BMO employees are proud to support the BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run as it promotes a healthy lifestyle, celebrates the natural beauty on the North Shore and helps raise funds for BC Children's Hospital – the employee charity of choice,” added Joanne.

After the race, athletes and supporters relaxed in the alpine plaza by the finish line, and enjoyed a variety of activities while the awards were presented including a BBQ and beer lounge, massage services, complimentary coffee, sponsor demos, and a grand prize draw.
     2010 Winners    Time  
 Overall men:        1. Sebastian Salas    25:01
     2. Michael Simpson    27:48
   3. Kris Swanson    28:36
 Overall women:      1. Sarah Baker    31:18
     2. Leanna Johnston    31:34
 3. Kristina Rody  33:52
The Grouse Grind® 
The Grouse Grind®, sometimes called Mother Nature's Stairmaster, is a 2.9 km trail leading hikers up the face of Grouse Mountain. While it is not a long trail, it is a steep and rugged one, rising 853 metres (2,800 feet).

Course details: 
Length: 3 kilometres (1.86 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830 
Average Time: Approximately an hour and a half to complete the hike, with two hours recommended for novice hikers.
Participants: Hikers range in age from children to seniors with an equal male/female split.