Oliver Karger hails from London, where a certain athletic event is under way. Friday night in Coronado, he was feeling a little homesick while watching Opening Ceremonies on the telly.
But Saturday, “I saw blue skies and the beach—all that makes up for it,” Karger said. “I had my own Olympics today.”
Coronado had Summer Games fever Saturday, with a Junior Olympic swim meet at Coronado High School, a 10-kilometer morning race beginning and ending at Sunset Park and an ocean swim.
Karger, 32, ran in the 10K and took part in the rough water swim—both sponsored by the Optimists Club of Coronado.
He had a suggestion: “Coronado should bid for the next Olympics. This is a brilliant set-up.”
Twelve weeks ago, he said, he was in a triathlon in Dorney Lake, where the Olympic rowing competition is being held.
He came here in May and will stay until September, working at the Wellspring Camp La Jolla—a weight-loss project—at UC San Diego.
The 41st annual Sports Fiesta 10K and Ocean Swim drew 205 runners and 41 swimmers, organizers said, with the footrace attracting ages 12 to 76. A triathlon will be held Sunday.
Saturday also was —a nationwide effort to promote fitness, and part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative against childhood obesity.
Richard Williams of Imperial Beach, the eldest entrant in the 10K, said he started competing at age 41 when he weighed 220. Now he tips the scales at 160. He says he’s run marathons including Boston and New York. His wife, Jane Rogers, also competed.
Said Williams: “This is one of the most wonderful courses, where you can run along the ocean.”
World masters track medalist Richard Gauntner, 71, of Rancho Penasquitos is partners with Richard Williams—and belong to the Florida Track Club. They call themselves members of Florida Track Club West.
Optimist member Jim Calloway, 60, of Coronado talked fellow club members into running the 6.2-mile race. He says he’s run in 50 marathons.
Kevin Durham won the 10K with a time of 32 minutes, 35 seconds in the 20-29 age group, and Marina Ghabbour of Oceanside was the top female finisher with a time of 39:12, which was ninth overall Saturday morning.
Former SEAL Peter Riddle, 74—a retired San Diego Superior Court judge—said he’s been in 35 to 40 ocean swims like Saturday’s. His wife, Betsy Jordan, 75, also swam the mile in the Pacific—in 60-degree water.
Winner of the swim on a triangular course was Damian Wallace, 43, with a time of 23:34. Christian Hoppe, 17, who competes in water polo and swimming for the Islanders, took second at 24:47 and swam with his father, David, 65. Mark Hansen, 59, was third at 24:51.
At Coronado High School, a cardboard cutout of Olympian Ryan Lochte greeted entrants at a 2012 Long Course Junior Olympics meet, which began Thursday and ends Sunday. More than 600 were expected to take part.
On the same day Lochte won gold in London in the 400-meter individual medley, the same event was held at the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatics Complex. All part of the Olympic experience.