Coronado has a pre-Valentine's 10K not because organizer Ben Vaughn is a big fan of the holiday, but to beat the busy summer months, when the community is chock-ablock with events.
The race has grown by 25 percent in its second year, jumping from 1,600 runners to 2,000, said Vaughn, who retired from the Navy and now serves as a consultant.
Locals have been quick to embrace the race – Vaughn estimates that 25 percent of the entrants come from the community – but it is quickly being accepted in the running world as well.
Some top athletes are coming in this year, Vaughn says, including Karolina Jarzynska, a member of the Polish Olympic team, and U.S. runners Josh Cox and Scott Baughs.
And those striding through Tidelands Park Sunday morning will not be alone. More than 100 runners on the USS John C. Stennis will join them, jogging aboard the aircraft carrier. Vaughn sent off their race packets, so the sailors are an official part of the Valentine's 10K.
About 300 volunteers are expected to help with the race by, starting at 2 a.m. and continuing until its conclusion about eight hours later. Bridge-bound traffic from Glorietta Boulevard will be diverted early for the race, which uses the northbound lanes.
Coronado businesses have embraced the race too – almsot two dozen have signed on to offer incentives for runners to shop locally this weekend.
“Hopefully they stay in Coronado and there's a little economic benefit here,” said Vaughn, who hopes to grow still further next year.
Here's the details: Singles, couples and kids will take part in the second annual race, which takes place on a flat and easy course. Strollers are welcome.
Registration for 2,000 runners sold out Thursday. Race day registration is not available.
This year, the race includes:
- Chip timing is provided by Eternal Timing with a 5K split in the results
- $2,500 in Prize Money for the top three overall Male and Female runners and first Male and Female Master's (40 and older)
- Awards Ceremony on site
- Hand carved cedar Islander Tiki's for top three in each category and overall
- High Tech Runner's T-shirt for all participants
- Couples Category so you can run with your Valentine
- Finishers Medals and Water Bottles at the finish line
- Registration discounts for runners age 17 and under
- Discounts up to 20% off at local restaurants and businesses and other sponsors
- Three convenient packet pickups (McP's, Gordon-Biersch, and Race Day)
- Live music and raffle at the Gordon-Biersch post race party at McP's Irish Pub and Grill.