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Crown City Classic & Crown City Mile on Fourth of July – These Runners are FAST!

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After much preparation and coordination, runners and spectators participated in the 44th Annual Crown City Classic on this year’s Fourth of July. The race, founded by Dan Orr, John O’Brien, and Kathy Loper in 1975, has preserved its unwavering patriotic spirit for several decades. This year, the 12K and 5K run/walk collectively attracted nearly two thousand runners nationwide to the historic city of Coronado. Checking in at 6:30 AM at Tidelands Park, participants were ready at the starting line by 7:00 AM to start the 12K race in three heats according to speed. Following soon after the 12K heats began, the 5K heats started and all runners were making their way down Glorietta Boulevard.

As there were three different heats, there were runners racing at various paces. Many also ran to display their patriotism, speed, or just enjoy their holiday on-island. In the faster heats, many of the younger runners would be seen competing in cross country and track races in high school or college.

The turnaround point for the 5K occurred next to the Coronado Municipal Golf Course near the corner of Vista Place and Glorietta Boulevard, which the fast-pace runners reached in less than nine minutes. Participants in the 12K (7.4 miles) did not make their turnaround until past the Naval Amphibious Base on the Strand. Both races finished back at Tidelands Park, where all finishers received a medal.

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After every runner crossed the finish line, the awards ceremony took place at 8:30 AM, where the top three male and female finishers in each race were awarded a medal.

The top three male finishers in the 12K run (picture above) were Brandon Shields from Temecula, CA (3rd; right), Andrew Falkiewicz from San Diego, CA (2nd; middle), and Joshua Litwiller from Carlsbad, CA (1st; left). Shields finished in 41:25 (Mile Pace: 5:34), Falkiewicz in 40:31 (Mile Pace: 5:26), and Litwiller in 39:39 (Mile Pace: 5:20).

Of the female runners in the 12K, the top three finishers (pictured above) were Sandra Pflughoft from Temecula, CA (3rd and 18th overall; left), Katie Barrett from San Diego, CA (2nd and 15th overall; middle), and Alexandra Watt from Encinitas, CA (1st and 11th overall; right). Pflughoft clocked a time of 46:13 (Pace: 6:12), Barrett a time of 45:52 (Pace: 6:10), and Watt a time of 44:47 (Pace: 6:01).

In the 5K run/walk, shorter distance accounted for faster times. The top three male finishers (picture above) were Cameron Hylton from Temecula, CA (3rd; left), Robert Hernandez from Fresno, CA (2nd; middle), and Ryan Shields from Temecula, CA (1st; right). Hylton finished with a time of 16:04 (Pace: 5:11), Hernandez with a time of 15:54 (Pace: 5:07), and Shields two seconds faster with a time of 15:52 (Pace: 5:07). Both Hylton and Shields are both seventeen years olds and cross-country stars at Great Oak High School in Temecula.

The fastest female finishers (not pictured) in the 5K run/walk were Bessy Leszczynski, who finished in 27th place overall with a time of 19:31 (Pace: 6:17); Kaili Zink-Hernandez, who finished 26th overall with a time of 19:20 (Pace: 6:14); and Meghann Cook, who finished 12th overall clocking 18:38 (Pace: 6:00).

Congratulation to all finishers in the 12K and 5K races!

New! Crown City Mile:

New in 2018, the Crown City Mile attracted over a hundred runners nationwide. After the 12K and 5K races, many runners joined the crowds on Orange Avenue to compete in this race. As this race took place right before the Fourth of July parade, parade-goers setting up early were able to cheer on the runners, connecting the Crown City Classic with the festivities on Orange Avenue. This event was split into three divisions: a men’s race, women’s race, and youth race.

At 9:15 AM, the gun shot signaled the start of the men’s race starting at Fourth and Orange. Running down six blocks and passing all the parade-goers, their one-mile race finished at Star Park where they joined the rest of the Fourth of July festivities. Out of thirty-six runners, the top three finishers receiving medals in the men’s race were Matthew Palmer from Portland, OR, who clocked a 4:19 mile; Shyan Vaziri from San Diego, CA, who clocked 4:15; and Abraham Tesfamariam from Albuquerque, NM, clocking 4:14.

Three minutes after the men sprinted from the start line, the women’s race took off at the next gun shot, demonstrating their speed and patriotism along Orange. With twenty-four racing, women of all ages were able to race—four of which finished in under six minutes. The top three female runners in this race were Rianna Goins, with a 5:30 mile; Bridie McCarey, with a 5:16 mile; and Natasha LaBeaud Anzures, finishing in 5:03.

Finishing off the Crown City Mile, the co-ed youth heats started shortly after the women’s race took off. Ranging from participants at age four to age seventeen, there were fifty-nine entries in this youth race. As each runner made their way down to the finish line, they joined their families in the Fourth of July parade to conclude this year’s Crown City Classic.


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Andres de la Lama
Andres de la Lama
Andres is a senior at Coronado High School and has written for the Islander Times and The Coronado Times throughout his high school career. He has also been a proud part of Coronado’s Days for Girls chapter and this year’s president. Andres aspires to be a screenwriter will go on study creative writing in college. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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