Runner summits Grouse Grind a record 13 times
A new record has been set for the most times anyone has climbed North Vancouver's gruelling Grouse Grind trail in a single day.
Around 11 p.m. PT Monday night, Vancouver realtor Sebastian Albrecht reached the top of the rocky trail for the 13th time since he started at 7 a.m.
After completing the final climb in the dark, a weary Albrecht told CBC News it had been a challenging day.
"Once I got past 10 it was easier psychologically because I knew I was really close to my goal. Physically, it was a lot more difficult because my body was starting to give out. And 12 and 13 were painful," he said.
The 2.9-kilometre trail runs from the Grouse Mountain gondola base station in North Vancouver up to the ski lodge perched on the edge of the mountain overlooking all of Metro Vancouver.
With an average grade of 30 degrees, the popular trail has earned the nickname "nature's Stairmaster" among local fitness buffs.
Average hikers struggle up the route in about an hour and a half, while the unofficial record is 24 minutes and 22 seconds. Albrecht averaged about 50 minutes per climb, catching his breath and eating between climbs, and taking the tram down.
The previous record, which Albrecht shared with Jason Chong, was 12 summits in a day. The exertion required is tremendous, Chong told CBC News.
"You have to buckle down pretty much. Most endurance athletes will tell you it becomes more mental as it goes on," he said.
Albrecht burned an estimated 13,000 calories by the time the day was over. His energy needs were looked after by a dedicated supply team: his mother Johanna Albrecht.
"I have brown rice with grilled chicken breast and greens; dark, dark greens," she told CBC News. She also supplied 24 muffins, 24 containers of energy drink and five pounds of bananas for her son to consume during the climb.
Albrecht has always been determined, according to his mother, who noted her son had extra motivation for the climb — he had wanted to raise $10,000 dollars for the Shelter Foundation, a charity that provides safe homes for women and children.
"Getting up to 10 was tough because I really had to think about why I was doing it, and knowing my goal was motivated by the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, a good cause," said Albrecht.
He raised more than $4,300 by the end of the run, but is still collecting donations on his website.