The 3rd Annual Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K on February 17, 2013 was a race to remember. The race set a new high for participants and some unexpected inspirational heroes. The first race began at 730AM with the new one mile fun run. Watching toddler age runners and families “medal” got the morning off to a bright, cheerful start. At 800AM the open division charged off and about thirty minutes later the leaders sprinted back into Tidelands Park in pursuit of prizes and rankings.
In three years the Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K has quickly become a top race in Southern California. The year round dedication, the service and philanthropy of race staff Vaughan Multisport Inc. is peerless. The overall race winning time of Ahmed Osman from Flagstaff AZ of30:03 was not that far off a world class 10K time of 27 minutes. This 2013 winning time reflects the caliber of athletes the Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K has quickly attracted to the city of Coronado. Of course it was Valentine’s Day; the race had a record number of couples running together. The 2013 race had the first on race course wedding proposal, and yes, she said yes!
The race benefits two Coronado based foundations, the Stephen Wampler Foundation and the Islander Sports Foundation. These two non-profits are great sources of inspiration in the Coronado community and beyond. Yet an inspirational story would reveal what the race and Coronado is all about three hours after the start of the race.
By eleven AM it was hard to tell a race took place at Tidelands Park. Tents, barriers, cones, trash had all been packed and tossed by the great Coronado student athlete volunteers, race staff and parent volunteers. The remaining crew was leaving the park to Coronado favorite, McP’s Pub & Grill, for the much deserved after race party. Race director Ben Vaughan noticed a racer striding into Tidelands Park towards the finish line. The finish line banner was already packed in the race truck. The volunteers and staff, inspired by the last racer, an Imperial Beach resident with bib 1119, put the finish line back in place. Race director Ben Vaughan walked the last couple hundred yards with the final participant to the improvised finish line three hours after the race began. The CHS Student Athletes gathered at the finish despite that many of them began race support around 5:30AM to cheer racer 1119, also known as “angry birds beanie man”. The final participant, determined to finish what he started at 8AM, provided the final inspirational story. There were cars in the park that paused to the side of the road to let racer number 1119 finish and be “medaled” by Race Director Ben Vaughan. Mr. Vaughan, his staff and the volunteers treated racer number 1119 as enthusiastically as the race elites that finished two and half hours earlier. This final 2013 Coronado Valentine’s Day 10K memory provided perhaps the most symbolic moment for the Coronado High School Islander student athletes that stuck around to cheer him to the finish. A determined participant finished the race, a dedicated team made it special for him.
There were three years olds running an early morning mile, elite racers getting from Tidelands Park to the Amphib base and back in thirty minutes, a marriage proposal, and finally a determined racer winning “his” race three hours after the start and surrounded by dedicated “Islanders”-all just another day of abundant, inspirational, Island spirit in the Crown City.
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