Coronado’s Crown City Classic returns for Independence Day weekend

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – After more than a year of masks and restrictions because of COVID-19, Coronado again hosted its Crown City Classic road race in person today, marking its 48th anniversary.

The event, which started at 7 a.m., marked the first road race in San Diego County since the pandemic.

“Anybody can go out and swim, bike or run on their own,” said endurance athlete Bob Babbitt, co-founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. “But it’s at races where you get the most amped and pumped.

“It’s the social part of what we do, seeing your buddies at a race,” Babbitt continued. “It’s going to be really special.”

Race director Jamie Monroe kept the event rolling amidst the pandemic last year with a modified race. He plopped down a timing mat on the bike path at Tidelands Park for the event. Counting the virtual component of the race, nearly 1,000 participated.

Monroe expected 2,000-plus participants. The Crown City Classic featured a 12K, 5K and a half-mile fun run for kids.

The 12K was selected because it’s 7.4 miles, celebrating Independence Day’s date.

Monroe described the joy race directors draw from providing an event for people of all ages and skill levels.

“It’s the difference we make in the community and the impact people have when they accomplish goals with other people,” he said. “You can go out and run on your own, but when you watch 1,000 people cross a finish line, you see the difference you make. That’s the high an event organizer gets.”

Included in the 12K field are San Diegan Dylan Marx and Chula Vista’s Steven Martinez, both of whom raced at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. Marx finished 35th and Martinez 57th.

“We’ve been waiting for this for 15 months,” said Marx said. “Maybe we won’t be our sharpest but good enough to toe the line and mix it up with some competition.

“The whole participant/spectator aspect of the races, it’s really what we’ve missed, the opportunity to showcase our talents,” he continued. “People say you race to see how good you can be. But there’s got to be an aspect of showmanship for our sport to grow and that’s why we’re happy to support San Diego’s first race back.”

New in 2021, the Coronado Ferry has added a special early morning service for runners.  Race day features a finish line festival at Tidelands Park with live music and awards. Following the event all of the participants are invited to attend Coronado’s famous Independence Day Parade which starts at 10 a.m. on Orange Avenue.

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