History of the Coronado Independence Day Run

1974-1977 Around the end of 1973, George Green and a small group of runners from the San Diego Track Club starting throwing around the idea of staging a half-marathon in Coronado. Rather than bother with trivial details like insurance, city permission, or police support, Bob Letson who at the time was the chief AAU “course certifier” in the area mapped out the first Coronado Half Marathon route, put a notice in the Track Club newsletter, distributed entry forms at the next few track club races and showed up at the starting line on July 4th, 1974. The race had a contact with the Coronado Recreation Department and the race was on their calendar but that’s about it. Here is the original certified route and George Green was the Race Director. Check out this article for ALL the details on the race’s beginnings.

1978-1986 The race was a half marathon which started on Sixth Street between Cutler Field and the high school track, ran east to Glorietta Blvd, went south on Glorietta, up the little hill above the Yacht Club, jogged right/left on Ynez and Adella, then crossed Orange Avenue and traversed Ocean Blvd and entered NAS North Island at Sunset Park. That was approximately Mile 3. The course went out and back along the beach at North Island and came back to Sunset Park at approximately Mile 12. It looped Sunset Park and finished at Sixth & Coronado Avenue right by the old elementary school. Dick and Judy Stolpe and ‘End of the Line’ consulting were the timers and event managers.

1987-1990 Due to security issues NAS North Island was no longer available so the half marathon weaved its way through Coronado crossing Orange and 3rd and 4th a couple of times. It was a nightmare! One year it was also almost fourteen miles long! The City’s humor check was over, the race lost their traditional sponsor, The Chart House, and as far as anyone figured that was the end of the 4th of July run.

1991- The year that almost wasn’t! Two separate groups of local runners endeavored to keep the spirit alive and independently put the word out to friends to meet and run around Coronado. The groups decided to join together and start at First & D. The Coronado Police got wind of the plans and since the City had not approved the race for 1991, and since the police were expecting 2000 runners to show up, arrived with a massive show of force to break up the illegal assembly. With approximately only 25 runners showing up, the Coronado Police had the race outnumbered. With permission, everyone laughed, waved goodbye and kept the streak alive with a 7.4 mile run around the perimeter.

Later in 1991 Kathy Loper who had worked with End of the Line met John O’Brien and Dan Orr on their Wednesday morning run to collaborate on a 15K on the 4th of July that wouldn’t cross Orange or 3rd & 4th, but would be run from Tidelands Park to Glorietta to Strand Way to a three mile loop on the Amphibious Base, then back to Tidelands Park. Kathy Loper, now operating as Kathy Loper Events secured permission from the Port of San Diego and designed a 15K course. Dan Orr secured the rights to the race and got it included in the 4th of July Committee’s major event submission to the City. Dan and Kathy met with Capt. Jim Harris of the Amphibious Base and got permission to use the base. And, the rest is history.

1992-2014 Kathy Loper Events was the race director for the Coronado Independence Day 15K/5K which benefited the All Sports Booster Club and its successor, the Islander Sports Foundation. With a few minor technical glitches, the race came off every year without a hitch.

2015 Under the management of Easy Day Sports the former half marathon and former 15K, was reborn as the Crown City Classic with a distance of 12K to bring it in line with some of the other classic national road races and to give runners the opportunity to run 7.4 miles on July 4th.

2018 Crown City Classic brought the Crown City Mile to Orange Avenue for the first time! The first-year addition brought 35 men, 24 women, and 59 youth ages 7-17  to sprint a 1-mile course. Runners took off from the start line on 4th and Orange Avenue, and ran straight down Orange Avenue amidst cheering crowds gathered for the Independence Day Parade. Men’s winner Abrham Tesfamariam, 22, soared through the finish line with a flying 00:04:14 time, beating 2nd place Shyan Vaziri, 24, by a mere second, as Vaziri came in at 00:04:15. Third place Matthew Palmer, 30, wasn’t far behind at 00:04:19. The Women’s race saw quite the speed as well: 1st place Natasha LeBeaud Anzures, 30, ran away with a finish of 00:05:03. Bridey McCarey, 29, took 2nd place at 00:05:16, and Rianna Goins, 22, finished in 3rd with 00:05:30. The Youth Mile saw speed well-worth rooting for as well. Nico DiMatteo, 14, finished 1st place with 00:05:52. Melia Miller, 11, was right on his heels finishing in first for the girls youth division, at a time of 00:05:57. The traditional 5K saw over 1,100 participants, and the 12K brought in 0ver 800, ranging from Coronado locals, to Arizona visitors, to runners from Minnesota, Rhode Island, Canada, and more!

2020 With the Covid-19 Global Pandemic dominating the news, the race manages to pull off a modified live event where runners scheduled to run one at a time over three days- July 2-4th. With all Califonia events shut down since March 16th, Race Director, Jamie Monroe formulated a plan where runners stopped by the Easy Day Sports office to pick up their bibs, set up start and finish timing mats in Centennial Park and runners ran either a 5K or 12K out and back course on the bike path. Runners ran one at a time and when they finished, went back to the office to get their t-shirt and medal. Runners were required to have face masks and of the almost 1000 runners signed-up, more than half opted to run the race virtually, time their run with a GPS watch, and upload it manually to the leaderboard. See Local News Story here.

-history contributors Dan Orr and George Green

About Easy Day Sports

Headquartered in Coronado, California, Easy Day Sports is a dynamic event production agency whose emphasis is creating memorable life experiences through premier, professionally managed endurance sports events. The company’s name is deeply inspired by the Navy SEAL motto “The only easy day was yesterday.” This is embodied through superior event production and a tireless commitment to excellence. For more information, send an email to [email protected].

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