Sac State students look forward to Valentine Run

Brett Johnson

Keeping with an annual tradition, students and athletes from Sacramento State will participate in the Valentine Run on Saturday.


All proceeds from the run go to Legal Services of Northern California, a nonprofit legal aid agency. According to its website, the organization provides quality legal assistance to the poor.


Nanette Aubut, development coordinator of Legal Services of Northern California, said nearly 1,500 runners participated in the Valentine Run last year.


The organization is planning for an even larger turnout this year.


“We expect about 1,600 or more runners and walkers this year, and many spectators,” Aubut said.


The Valentine Run begins at the CrossFit Sacramento Gym, loops around the Arden area and ends back at the gym. The event features kids’ races along with 1.8- and 4-mile runs, both timed and un-timed.


Scott Abbott, assistant coach of the Sac State track and field team, considers the run to be an excellent opportunity for his runners to supplement their winter training routine and prepare for the spring track season.


“Eight years ago, during the first Valentine Run, my wife and I participated in the couples division of the run, and I’ve sent my team to participate nearly every year since,” Abbott said.


Members of the track team participate in the 4-mile timed run.


Colin Szehner, Sac State alumnus and former indoor track runner, won the 2008 race in 20 minutes, 11 seconds. Szehner got sixth place the following year with 20:27.


“I look forward to it every year – it is the absolute best road race in the area,” Szehner said. “It’s a flat and fast course, and really competitive in the front, which makes it a lot fun to run.”


On average, four female and eight male Sac State track runners participate in the run each year.


“The timing of this race is unique, because there aren’t many other races that take place this early in the year,” said Rich Hanna, Valentine Run’s program director. “We get a good amount of college students taking part because it usually works out in their schedule, whereas most the other road races wouldn”t.”


The influx of young college students participating brings an increased level of competition to the table, Hanna said.


“Having so many college kids come out for the Valentine Run means the older veteran racers have to work hard to keep up with the fast pace that the students and athletes can maintain,” Hanna said.


Aside from the competitive race, the Valentine Run also includes an un-timed race which allows dogs on leashes to participate, as well as a half-mile kids’ run.


An award ceremony will follow the race, giving prizes to the best dressed runners, the fastest runners and the favorite canine participant.


Registration for the event is $35. Students interested in participating in the Valentine Run can register online at


Brett Johnson can be reached at [email protected]