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(North Vancouver) Sunny skies and warm temperatures prevailed at the top of Grouse Mountain on Sunday morning as hundreds of participants hit the Grind for the 2013 ClearlyContacts.ca Grouse Grind Challenge during a record-setting day of personal achievement and Grind For Kids fundraising in support of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Crossing the finish line with a time of 26 minutes and 23 seconds was US Men’s National Mountain Running Team racer Joseph Gray of Washington who claimed first place honours over local athlete and current record-holder Sebastian Salas who won the 2008 through 2012 events. In second place was former Grouse Grind record-holder Michael Simpson who clocked in at 28 minutes flat and rounding out the top three was Squamish native Nick Elson who followed up seconds later with a time of 28:40.

In the women’s category, US Women’s National Mountain Running Team racer and former Olympian Morgan Arritola claimed first place honours with a time of 31 minutes and 22 seconds. Hot on her heels was Melanie Sakowski of North Vancouver at 33 minutes and 35 seconds followed up by Brandi Heisterman of Squamish at 33:55.

“It’s a great feeling to come here and get a win today,” said Gray. “The Grind is a great test of my abilities and it’s always a very competitive run with an incredible atmosphere. The Grouse Grind Mountain Run is a race that I’ve always wanted to win and I’m very pleased I could come here and do that today.”

Now in its 23rd year, the ClearlyContacts.ca Grouse Grind Challenge is the annual showcase event of the Grouse Grind season and draws hundreds of participants of all ages each year. From elite mountain runners to leisurely hikers, the event is inclusive of every age and fitness level with an emphasis on personal goal setting and achievement.

As in past years, proceeds from the ClearlyContacts.ca Grouse Grind Challenge provide funds to the annual Grind For Kids campaign which has raised more than $560,000 to date in support of the BC Children's Hospital Foundation. During the Grinding season, participants are encouraged to collect pledges for every completed Grind. For more information about Grind For Kids, please visit grindforkids.ca.

2013 Results:
Men:
Joseph Gray – 26:23
Michael Simpson – 28:00
Nick Elson – 28:40

Women:
Morgan Arritola – 31:22
Melanie Sakowski – 33:35
Brandi Heisterman – 33:55

Course details:
Length: 3 kilometres (1.86 miles)
Elevation gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 metres (900 feet) above sea level
Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
Total stairs: 2,830
Fastest-ever official time: 25:01 – held by Sebastian Salas, five-time Grouse Grind Mountain Run champion (2008-12)
Average time: The ClearlyContacts.ca Grouse Grind Challenge takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete, with two hours recommended for novice hikers.
Participants: Hikers range in age from children to seniors with an equal male/female split.

Announcements

Please be aware, Altitudes Bistro is undergoing renovation. Lunch service with the Altitudes menu will be available in The Observatory beginning at 11am. Grouse Grind Coffee Bar is open 7:00am-10:00pm serving Grill Board menu items. The Observatory will be open 5:00pm - 10:00pm.