Saturday, July 13, 2024

Jess McClain Reigns Supreme Again at Patriotic Crown City Classic

Record-Breaking Participation Marks Coronado’s Iconic Fourth of July Event

Crown City Classic 2024. Photo: RWBMultiMedia

On a picturesque morning for running—overcast skies melded with cool summer temperatures—some 2,800 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes gathered in Coronado’s Tidelands Park on Thursday morning for the 51st annual Crown City Classic.

The star of the day was the race itself. The 12K—7.4 miles on 7/4, the Fourth of July—stretched to the Silver Strand and back. The 5K hung a U-turn parallel to the Coronado Municipal Golf Course’s par-three 11th hole. The kids’ half-mile unfolded at Tidelands Park.

Crown City Classic 2024. Photo: RWBMultiMedia

In a town that celebrates Independence Day like none other (later, the 75th annual parade marched down Orange Avenue), runners started the day sprinting beneath a huge United States flag. Everywhere they turned, the course was lined with spectators adorned in red, white, and blue.

Men’s 12K winner Julius Diehr, a La Jolla Country Day graduate who lives in Providence, R.I., and was home for the holiday, said, “There’s people everywhere. Everyone’s wearing the red, white, and blue. Everyone’s having a great time out here on July 4th.”

Diehr covered the 7.4 miles in 38 minutes, 16 seconds, a 5:08-per-mile pace. Patrick Hutton of Flagstaff, Ariz., finished second in 39:08, with Benjamin Enowitz of Los Angeles third in 39:35.

Jess McClain. Crown City Classic 2024. Photo: RWBMultiMedia

The women’s winner was a familiar face—Phoenix’s Jess McClain. A year ago, McClain was the overall winner in the 12K, beating all the men and women. It was the first time in the Fourth of July event’s history that a woman finished first overall.

McClain won the women’s race Thursday in 39:25, a 5:18-per-mile pace. She finished more than a mile ahead of the second-place woman, Maggie Gibbs (46:09). Including the men, McClain placed third overall.

“I’m glad I could pull out a top-three finish today,” said the 32-year-old McClain, “and not get another fourth place.”

In February, she finished fourth at the U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials. On Saturday, she placed fourth at the U.S. Track and Field Trials in the 10,000 meters. The top three qualify for this summer’s Paris Olympics, meaning she barely missed representing the USA. She’s the first alternate in the marathon and 10,000 meters and is expected to find out by Monday if one of the top three finishers at the marathon trials drops out because of injury.

“Coronado is my favorite,” said McClain, whose in-laws live part-time on the island. “It’s a race I look forward to every year.”

McClain won the women’s race for the fourth year in a row. Indeed, the Crown City Classic served as a rebirth for her running career. Burned out from running professionally, McClain took nearly two years off. Her 2021 Crown City Classic 12K victory served as a jump start to her professional return.

Amidst the post-race celebration at Tidelands Park, with San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge as a backdrop, McClain said, “This is the race that got me back into running. It’s got a big place in my heart.”

A local, Tim Hendricks of Coronado, won the men’s 5K in 15:05, a 4:43-per-mile pace. San Diego’s Bridie Robillard won the women’s 5K in 18 minutes flat, a 5:48 pace.

Crown City Classic 2024. Photo: RWBMultiMedia

For complete results, photos and more, visit

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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