The Optimist Club of Coronado is host to the longest continuously running triathlon of its kind in the world. The event which usually takes place at the end of July, however, has had to be at least temporarily cancelled this year. I had a chance to speak with long-time member and current president of the Optimist Club, Renee Cavanaugh, about the unexpected current postponement of the event.

“When I first joined the club 15 years ago, I knew it was an annual event held at the end of July by the group, and everyone in the club volunteers for different aspects of it,” Cavanaugh began. “Through the years it’s changed locations [around the island] but for a while now it’s been centered around Sunset Park.”

As a triathlon, the Sports Fiesta consists of three elements. “There’s the rough water swim with lifeguards on hand, then a run down to the Del and back up to Sunset Park, and then at Sunset Park we have the bicycles there and participants grab shoes and enter the Navy base to ride a course plotted out on the base where they come back out to finish at Sunset Park,” she further explained.

While the pandemic made for a much smaller version of the event over the last couple of years to keep it going, regular participants were looking forward to returning to compete in-person this year. However, unforeseen circumstances have caused at least a temporary cancellation of the Sports Fiesta. “By no fault of anyone’s,” Cavanaugh said, “the Navy was unable to accommodate us for the bike portion of the triathlon this year.”

While the Optimist Club is looking into options to reroute the five kilometer bike portion of the event, it’s a process that requires time and a variety of elements to come together. “We would have to ask the City to close off streets and usually those kinds of requests are made years in advance. We would also need to coordinate with the police department and add costs to have personnel stationed at intersections and busy streets,” she noted.

Cavanaugh said that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope for the event to potentially still come to fruition in 2022. “We’re looking into a couple of possibilities for doing it later in the year, considering several options in Coronado for the swim, run, and bike portions that will be both safe for participants as well as manageable for the city and the club, and pursuing that one hundred percent,” she told me. “It is a beloved tradition in our club, and one that we certainly hope will continue well into the future.”

The Sports Fiesta is also one of the Optimist Club’s most important fundraisers each year in which proceeds help support youth activities in the community including Coronado High School and Coronado Middle School athletic programs, Girl and Boy Scouts troops, Safe Harbor Coronado, scholarship opportunities, and more. The club has also been considering plans for alternate fundraising events in case the Sports Fiesta is not able to be held this year.

While the club is working on creating potential alternate routes for a 2022 Sports Fiesta, Cavanaugh mentioned that they will once again be hosting a pickleball tournament in the fall. “We are excited to host our Pickleball Tournament which is slated for October 15-16 at the Coronado Cays Tennis Courts,” she said of this newer fundraising event which saw its first iteration last year in 2021. “Adults (age 18 and up) can register to compete in Men’s and Women’s Doubles or Mixed Doubles in different skill levels and registration is open now until October 11.”

Cavanaugh also invited anyone with an interest in helping support the Optimist Club of Coronado and efforts to keep the Sports Fiesta going this year to join an open meeting in the Nautilus Room at the Community Center on Thursday, July 21 at 7 a.m. “As Optimists, we strive to aid and encourage the development of youth in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of human-kind, community life and the world. If this message resonates with you, please join us in this worthwhile effort,” Cavanaugh commented. The meeting will also feature a guest speaker from San Diego State University.

“We will be sure to keep the community posted as we move forward,” Cavanaugh added. “We’d like to thank and acknowledge the many supporters and participants who have helped make this event successful and memorable.”

For more information about the Optimist Club of Coronado and their upcoming events, you can visit their website at https://optimistclubofcoronado.org/. Registration for the 2022 Pickleball Tournament is also available now at https://www.active.com/coronado-ca/other-endurance/optimist-club-of-coronado-pickleball-tournament-2022.

VOL. 112, NO. 29 - July 20, 2022

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