The Grouse Grind is a challenge at the best of times, so imagine trying to climb the popular North Shore trail while seven-and-a-half-months pregnant?
That’s exactly what Hilary Spires is going to do as she tackles the Grouse Grind Challenge on June 21 in support of BC Children’s Hospital.
“You have from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night to fit in as many Grouse Grinds as you can on the longest day of the year,” she said. “Normally during the summer I would have a pretty hefty race schedule, but seeing this year as I’m pregnant, I thought I would give back instead and do something that is still a physical challenge, but a little safer than a larger distance run.”
Spires has climbed the Grouse Grind on numerous occasions, but has yet to participate in the Grouse Grind Challenge as she typically has competed in other races around the time of the annual event.
She recently completed four trips up the Grouse Grind in a training day and certainly noticed a few differences from past experiences.
“Without being pregnant my fastest time is 38 minutes. At seven months pregnant, 52 minutes was the fastest I could get up there, so it’s a significant difference,” she said. “It’s basically a minute per pound, so part of it is just carrying the extra weight. It was still safe and you have to run up in a little more of an upright position than I normally would, but you can use hiking poles, so that will help on the day of.”
The Tsawwassen woman said she has had a surprising amount of friends with children who have received care at BC Children’s, which is extra motivation for her to raise money for such a good cause.
“They do such an excellent job and everyone who has been there has told me it is such a special place,” she said.
Spires recently completed the Sun Mountain 50-Mile event – an 80-kilometre race in May. She finished 39th out of 101 female competitors despite being six months pregnant.
“Normally I would have liked to finish among the top, but in that condition, I just went slow and I was careful,” she said. “I work with midwives and all my family are so supportive of competing and staying active and doing what I love. I wanted to set an example that as an athlete you don’t have to take a break and not be active. The feedback I have received from other women has been amazing.”
Spires hopes to do eight to 10 trips up the Grouse Grind on June 21 and raise a few thousand dollars. You can support her endevour by emailing her at: email@example.com.