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(North Vancouver) The sun was shining at the top of Grouse Mountain on Sunday morning as hundreds of participants hit the Grind for the 24th-annual Grouse Grind Challenge during an inspiring 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 39 seconds was US Men’s National Mountain Running Team racer Joseph Gray who claimed first place honours for the second consecutive year. In second place was former Grouse Grind record-holder Michael Simpson of Vancouver who clocked in at 28:48 and rounding out the top three was Squamish native Eric Carter who followed up seconds later with a time of 29:36.

In the women’s category, 2014 Winter Olympic medallist Kristin Størmer Steira of Oslo, Norway claimed first place honours with a time of 30 minutes and 52 seconds – a new female record. Hot on her heels were 15-year-old twin dynamos Christina and Julie Sevsek of Surrey who claimed second and third place with times of 33:28 and 33:31 respectively.

“It’s a great feeling to come out here and take first place today,” said Gray. “While last year was certainly a special win, it meant even more to me this time around as my mother was here to cheer me on and see me cross the finish line. I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible atmosphere this morning.”

The 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.

“We are thrilled to conclude another successful Grouse Grind Challenge,” said Grouse Mountain general manager Michael Cameron. “With Grinders of all ages and ability levels represented here today, we are so pleased to share in their achievements while raising valuable funds for our Grind For Kids program to benefit the BC Children’s Hospital.”

As in past years, proceeds from the Grouse Grind Challenge provide funds to the annual Grind For Kids campaign which has raised close to $645,000 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