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Posted: July 4, 2023:  

Athletics: Jess McClain wins 50th Crown City Classic

2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier becomes first female champion in race's 50-year history as San Diego's favorite 4th of July running tradition

Coronado, California - July 4, 2023 - On a cool, overcast Fourth of July morning – idyllic conditions for distance runners – history was set Tuesday morning in the 50th Crown City Classic. Jessica McClain, a 41-year-old U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier from Phoenix, became the first woman to be the overall winner of the event.

Credit @RWBMultimedia

McClain was sitting in fourth place overall at the turnaround on Silver Strand Boulevard, then zipped past the three men in front of her to win the 12K in 41 minutes, 30 seconds, a 5:34 per-mile pace.

McClain finished 1 minute and 54 seconds ahead of the winning male, Daniel McCarty of Nevada, who won the men’s race in 43:24.

Regarding being the first woman to be the overall winner of the historic Fourth of July Coronado race, McClain said, “I love it. The guys definitely set a good pace up top, I gotta admit.”

McClain said she was inspired by the thousands of spectators who lined the streets and some words of wisdom from former coaches helped her, too.

“Over the years of running all my coaches said, ‘Keep your eyes up. Reel people in slowly,’ so I just kept cranking,” said McClain. “All the cheers from the (spectators) coming my way was awesome.”

McClain is a roll. Seventeen days earlier she joined a list of 129 women who have qualified for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials. McClain finished fourth out of 2,743 women at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn, in 2:29:25.

McClain’s performance Tuesday marked the third year in a row she won the women’s race at the Crown City Classic.

Maggie Gibbs of Peoria, Ariz., finished second among the women in 45:45. Coronado’s Jeff Tomaszewski placed second in the men’s 12K in 43:37.

Coronado’s Tim Hendricks won the men’s 5K in 14:58. Jesse Smith of San Diego was second in 16:22. In the women’s 5K, Savannah Vasquez of San Marcos hit the tape first in 18:31, followed by Coronado’s Grace Trucilla in 18:49.

The Crown City Classic, along with the annual parade and fireworks show, is part of what makes Coronado a slice of Americana on the Fourth of July when nearly 100,000 visitors descend on the island.

The race is a 12K because, on the Fourth, the 12 kilometers measures 7.4 miles; 7.4 on the Fourth.

A 2,200-square-foot United States flag flies above the starting line.

Nearly 2,500 runners turned out for the 50th event. Runners dressed in all shades of red, white and blue and spectators lined the streets waving little Stars and Stripes flags.

Basking in the euphoria of becoming the first woman to win the race, McClain said, “It’s the capital of the Fourth of July in all of the U.S. You’ve got to be on Coronado Island.”

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