Monday, September 27, 2021

23rd Annual Low Tide Ride & Stride: Sandy Fun for a Worthy Cause

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Tony Urech rode with his daughter Emily and her fluffy best friend named Teddy.

It only happens once a year and this was my husband’s and my first time to experience Coronado Rotary Club’s Low Tide Ride & Stride, and we loved every minute. Nearly 400 people took to the sand on bikes and by foot for the 23rd annual Rotary fundraising event, which is usually held in June. This year, as with so many things, the pandemic delayed the popular event. Two of the event timers, who also work at the Boston Marathon, reported that most events nationwide are only at half capacity this year. We estimated that the ratio of bikers to walkers and runners was about fifty-fifty as we began our journey on bikes from Silver Strand Beach to Sunset Park. Shuttles are offered for runners and walkers from Sunset Park to the starting line, but bikers need to ride there or take their bike down by car.

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The water stations were a welcome site manned by Rotary volunteers.

I learned that this fun-filled event began with one Rotarian’s vision, Bob Kranz, who started it as an eight-mile bike ride beginning at Surf Camp in Imperial Beach. The walk and run components were added a few years later to include more people. It was also later modified to a five-mile course to make it more family friendly.

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Bike washing stations were a bonus at the end to help get the sand off our bikes.

Event Co-chairman Robin MacCartee noted that it takes 65 Rotary volunteers and 20 Interact students to pull off this event, which raises funds for military-related organizations. He points out that Rotary works closely with State and Navy environmentalists to have volunteers along the route to protect the Snowy Plover and Least Tern endangered birds.  It was a great bonus to get our bikes hosed off at the wash station and have our chains oiled at the end.

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The Karnes family came out to join in on the fun.

As one of Rotary’s biggest fundraisers, MacCartee reports that this has been an amazing year, with $120,000 raised, of which 100 percent will go to a variety of worthy organizations. Proceeds go directly to local wounded warriors, Navy Gold Star families and First Responders.

Seeing the capsized boat was an added bonus along the way.

MacCartee said that this outdoor event typically averages 800 to 1000 participants when the event is held at its usual time in June, when the tides are the lowest. This year, with it being held in September, the tides were higher, and he warned us that it would be a little harder work out for our legs. Never having ridden much in the sand, we found it a bit more challenging than on a pathway or road, but still very manageable. I appreciated the water stations, manned by volunteers, along the way. We discovered some new sights on the ride, like the washed up boat, which made a great photo op. There were no medals given this year, due in part to the delayed supply chain, but MacCartee promised they will be back next year. We were happy with our long sleeve shirts, which we were able to pick up with our race bibs the day before.

This year’s delayed (from June to September) Low Ride & Stride had approximately 400 participants, with about half bikers and half walkers and runners.

So many Rotarians are former Navy personnel that there is a good working relationship with the Navy, and in fact this is the only non-military event allowed yearly that traverses the Navy’s beach area. I strongly encourage you to ride, run, or walk at next year’s Low Tide Ride & Stride scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022. For details, visit https://lowtideride.com/.

Low Tide Ride & Stride finish line.

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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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