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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.