Bikes and ebikes with riders of all ages lined the starting line on North Beach at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning to take off on their 5K course for the Low Tide Ride & Stride.
The event is the Coronado Rotary Club’s signature showcase, featuring chip-timed 5K runs, walks, ebike races and bike races along the sixth best beach in America. Saturday’s race was the 26th anniversary.
Andre Sauer, 10, was excited to bike on the beach down an American flag lined course.
I’m a bit excited.”-Andre Sauer, 10, who participated in the Low Tide Ride & Stride.
“I’m a bit excited and personally, I think it might be a cool experience to bike on the beach,” Sauer said.
Sauer and his parents Rebecca and David have called Coronado home for 5 1/2 years, but it was their first time racing in the The Low Tide Ride & Stride race.
“It’s such a good cause, and every time I take a walk and see this happening every year, I’m always so bummed that I’m not a part of it, so this year I’ve made it a point and we’re so psyched,” Rebecca Sauer said.
Hoping to raise over $100,000
“We started [the race] to benefit the military,” said Stephanie Anderson, the co-chair of the Low Tide Ride & Stride with John Duncan. “We’ll have lots of military families participating. It’s such a family fun event.”
The majority of the proceeds are used to support local combat-wounded active duty military and veterans and first responders.
The Coronado Rotary Club is hoping to raise as much as possible from the Low Tide Ride & Stride, but is expecting to raise over $100,000 in donate-able funds this year, Anderson said.
Support is also given to the STEP program, which builds financial self-sufficiency among junior active duty enlisted members and recently discharged enlisted veterans and their families facing financial crisis.
Foundation to support the military
One of the biggest recipients of the proceeds is The Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.
This foundation pioneered a new approach to supporting military men and women who are ill or injured through creating Freedom stations, which are unique recovery transition centers and housing facilities.
“The Rotary has been a firestone of giving that has helped a lot of our warriors, ill and injured,” said Sandra Lehmkuhler, CEO and founder of the Warrior Foundation
Something for everybody
Ed Lohlein joined the Rotary in 1985 and has been living in Coronado since 1972.
He has volunteered at every Low Tide Ride & Stride since its inception 26 years ago.
“It’s always a lot of work, but there are always a lot of volunteers from our club that work hard at getting this thing going,” Lohlein said. “We have people that come every single year. It’s something for everybody.”
With bikers, walkers and runners, the course was set up for everybody’s enjoyment, no matter the age or skill level. Many people made it a family or group event.
Jon and Debbie Rosenberg came on Saturday with their gym group.
“Sweat Circuit is a gym that we belong to here, and there’s a whole group of people that we meet together here from sweat circuit and they all get together and run together here,” Debbie Rosenberg said.
Jon and Debbie are from Arizona, but have spent their summers in Coronado for 15 years to escape the heat.
This is their sixth or seventh race with Low Tide Ride & Stride, and they usually see familiar faces.
“We’re glad we’re here,” Jon Rosenberg said. “This is the best time of the year to be in Coronado.”
Relocated to protect nesting grounds
This year’s event was relocated (for the second year in a row) to protect the Least Tern and Snowy Plover’s nesting grounds on the Navy base.
As coastal birds, the Least Tern’s nesting grounds are often disturbed by beach-goers, according to the Audubon Field Guide.
By changing the course and steering runners, bikers, viewers and loud music away from their critical nesting grounds, the Rotary protected the endangered species.
Kick-off to summer
After the races, participants lingered at Sunset Park to enjoy TeeLynn’s live music by Tricia Lynn Naval and local vendor booths.
Bananas, granola bars and water were provided for the participants after the race.
Anderson, who is also a local business owner of Island Yoga Coronado, said the Low Tide Ride & Stride is a great kick-off to summer with community participation.
“It’s the coming together of your Coronado Community to support the men and women who support us,” Anderson said.