The Cal Poly triathalon team held its ninth annual “Chains of Love” run through the hills of San Luis Obispo on Valentine’s Day to raise money for their trip to a national meet in April.
The race consisted of five kilometer, 10 kilometer and 15 kilometer runs as well as a half-mile run for kids. More than 300 participants ran this year in three separate categories: student, non-student and a couples’ category, in which people were asked to finish holding hands with their partner.
Philosophy senior Anna Flaherty was chosen to run this year’s event. She said she and the team have been working on the race since last summer.
“Most of the work happened this quarter,” she said. “As the race got closer, there’s more we could do.”
The triathlon team donned cupid costumes and love-themed attire; many of the couples chose to dress up, too.
“I think my favorite was this one older couple wearing matching red shirts that said ‘I married my Valentine,’” Flaherty said.
Statistics senior Libby Bigelow competed for the second year in a row.
“I love the fact that it’s always Valentine’s Day-themed and seeing everyone get into it,” she said. “Plus, the weather was great this year. I think we all forget how pretty our campus is.”
The course changed slightly from last year, when people finished at the Health Center. Because of the construction on campus, the race began at O’Neil Green near the Education Building and took participants through the campus up California Boulevard and Highland Drive to Pinnacle Road, past the soccer fields and the swine unit. Racers then ran through the heart of campus and across the finish line at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
“I really liked the change in the course this year,” Bigelow said. “Not that I didn’t like last year’s, but I think the start and end places were more convenient.”
The results haven’t been released because there were a few timing issues due to incomplete registration forms.
Winners will receive mugs labeled “top finisher” and gift certificates to local restaurants such as Natural Café. Other prizes included running-oriented items like Power Bars, water bottles and duffle bags.
The proceeds will help fund the team’s trip to the USA Triathalon Colleigate National Championship this spring in Lubbock, Texas. The championship tends to sell out each year and attracts around 120 teams from all over the country. That race is set for Olympic distances and consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40 kilometer bike ride and a 10 kilometer run.
Flaherty said that though they spent more money to host this year’s race, there were also a lot more contestants. She estimated the team made about $2,000 and said she considered the race a definite success.
“I love that the race is completely student-run,” Flaherty said. “I think it needs a lot more time than any of us really have. I mean, I’m taking 20 units and have another job. But somehow, we make it happen anyway and every year it seems to get better and better.”