Sacramento offers those who like to pound the pavement with a cornucopia of running possibilities. The flat and rolling terrain of most of the county, with the added benefit of steep ascents in the foothills, makes running here a joy. The City of Trees can be a fine trip any time of the year. Organized running clubs can help beginners get into the rhythm of the run. Experienced runners can take advantage of the speed and agility of the pack to simply run farther, faster or at least with more fun and smiles. Join a running club in the area to get in shape and enjoy doing it.
Buffalo Chips Running Club
The Buffalo Chips is the oldest and largest of the running clubs in Sacramento. It likes to stress the friendly and accepting nature of the club and its members. The Chips welcome and encourage runners, joggers and walkers of all ages. Members gather at several pre-announced spots for running throughout the year. Advice from experienced runners at multiple distances is always on hand. The Chips Youths is the club’s dedicated youth program. While it isn’t necessary to be a member of the club to run with the Chips, they’re pretty sure that once you do, you’ll join. The Herd, as they call themselves, love to run, then hit a local grazing spot for after-run goodies. It’s a great excuse to run with a great group.
River City Rebels Running Club
The River City Rebels Running Club was formed in 1994 in an effort to welcome runners into a close-knit, fun and friendly running community. The club’s training goal is more competitively focused on better results in races up to the half marathon. With over 100 members, the club is loaded with talent. From beginners to 20-year veterans, support and encouragement abound. The fairly regular schedule zeros in on cross-country skills on Tuesdays, starting at 5:20 p.m. at Ancil Hoffman Park. On Wednesdays, the track group meets on University Avenue near the Guy West Bridge. The Saturday track group meets at the American River College track. There are various advanced pace workouts in Rocklin, while on Sundays the club goes for long runs on the American River Bike Trail after meeting at the Gold River Center off Sunrise Boulevard.
This is a team effort for walkers and runners. The full name of the club is Sacramento Friends in Training. New to the schedule for 2013, which starts on Saturday, January 5, is training for the San Francisco Marathon. With coaches who work out with club members, the club trains runners and walkers to compete well at their level of fitness and experience in the half marathon, 5k and 10k races. The workout schedule covers four days each week. Saturday morning begins with 30- to 40-minute runs, which gradually increase during the season. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday workouts are 20-30 minutes, with a bit of increase throughout the season. The routines vary a bit, as do the locations, but the intent remains the same: camaraderie, excellent coaching and better running.
Fleet Feet Sports
2311 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
Variety is a good word for what Fleet Feet offers in running and walking gear and the ability to put the gear to good use. Its training programs are “…built to inspire, encourage and strengthen your relationship with being happy and healthy.” The base program is geared for anyone who is just beginning to work back to a state of fitness and health. After that, the road is wide open. Coaching and training for races that cover 5k, 10k, half and full marathons, trail running, triathlons, bootcamps, individual fitness and indoor cycling are all on the map. Locations of the trainings vary. Fleet Feet teams train for and participate in races from Sacramento to Pollock Pines. Train with Fleet Feet and you’ll be supported all the way to the finish line.
Golden Valley Harriers
Just across the Yolo Causeway is great running country. The Golden Valley Harriers run out of Davis, covering many miles of rolling farm land. Anyone with a positive attitude, elite to just starting out, is welcomed in the club. For three nights each week, the group meets at the Fleet Feet store, 615 Second Street in Davis, to start the workouts. Tuesdays at 5:45 p.m., speed work takes over after a good relaxing warm up, about five miles in all. Thursdays bring five- to eight-mile runs beginning at 6 p.m. at an easy to hard pace. Saturday mornings at 8 a.m., the runners launch for seven to 10 miles at a social pace, which is to say steady but relaxed. Marathoners in the group will typically add three to 10 miles to the route.
Related: A Sacramento Rock Climber’s Guide
Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. He retired from teaching after 36 years in 2010. He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at Examiner.com.