Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Valentino.
Anthony, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My roots are in North County San Diego. Growing up in Solana Beach and attending Torrey Pines High School, I feel strongly about bringing people together to celebrate where we live and strengthen the shared sense of community. After attending CSU Long Beach and UC Los Angeles, I couldn’t wait to head home and looked forward to doing something meaningful for my hometown.
Coming back to San Diego, I saw first hand how my mom, Monica Valentino, was giving so much back to the local community. As a very present mother, grandmother, and full-time real estate agent at Windermere Homes and Estates in Del Mar, she still makes it a priority to generously give her time to noble causes. Though she engages in many philanthropic activities, the focal point in her “kindness portfolio” is without question The Red Nose Run. Watching her passion and the impact she and all of the volunteers (aka “Volundeers”) that organize the event have, I was drawn to join the group.
Two years ago, one of the founders of the now 28-year old event, Al Bernotas, was planning to retire as Race Director. I expressed my interest in grabbing the reins to Santa’s sleigh and Al handed them over. Though I had some experience in the Participatory Sports industry through my time working for Active Network, being on the production side of the business has been an eye-opening education – one I value immeasurably.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Since we are 100% Volundeer organized, producing The Red Nose Run is truly a labor of love fueled by our passion and appreciation of the work our beneficiary charities perform. Despite being Volundeer organized, we are obsessed with simultaneously producing a professional world-class event with a truly local Del Mar beach vibe for our Participants – whom we fondly refer to as “Rundeer”. Our Sponsors significantly elevate the entire experience for all by intimately engaging with our Community as well as promoting and participating in our event.
Please tell us about your organization.
Since 1992, The Red Nose Run (TRNR) has been 100% volunteer-organized. We started TRNR to support a budding charity, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. About a decade ago, we had the honor of also supporting the Semper Fi Fund.
To understand the purpose that drives us, I encourage you to take a look at the two very highly-rated 501c3 charities we benefit – Fresh Start Surgical Gifts (freshstart.org) and Semper Fi Fund (semperfifund.org). I always like to emphasize that BOTH of these beautiful organizations were started locally here in San Diego and are global in reach.
As we enter our 28th year of TRNR, we have raised $350,000 for these amazing charities. This December, we invite you to join us for a fun and festive time while we continue to support these well deserving charities.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I had a blessed childhood, so fond memories and moments are several. I was raised in an upper-middle-class Solana Beach household at a time when anything seemed possible. Though I never wanted for anything, I was raised to appreciate all I had and never take any of it for granted. My family always “thought of the other guy” on all levels. To illustrate that point, I’ll share one of the things I loved most as a child – and it ties in well with our work at The Red Nose Run.
Every Christmas season, my mom would identify a family in our neighborhood that was “going through a tough time”. Perhaps there was a lost job, an illness or loss in the family, or some significant change in the family structure. Whatever their challenge was, she knew the holidays would be difficult for that family.
Because of this, my mother created The Valentino Kris Kringle Project. “Kris Kringle”, for those that don’t know, is basically the German version of Santa Claus and often associated with “Secret Santa” activities – the act of giving gifts anonymously at the Christmas holiday. Stealthfully, the Valentinos would sneak out under the cover of darkness into the neighborhood, drop a series of gifts over several days leading up to Christmas on the target family’s doorstep, and do a doorbell ditch – sprinting away from the front door into the dark veil of the night so we could remain anonymous. Though we mostly never saw the family come to the door to yet another Christmas surprise (children’s presents, ingredients for an entire Christmas dinner for four), once in a while we’d tuck into a shrub where we could watch it all go down. The mix of the mischievous doorbell-ditch, anonymous kindness, and seeing the joy spread across someone else’s face as they peered into the night looking for the elves that delivered these gifts did something to me. Looking back I realize it’s shaped me and led me to my work at The Red Nose Run, still Kris Kringling with mom.
- Youth Registration (comes with hi-quality plush Santa Hat) – $25
- Adult Registration (gift is a hi-quality stainless steel TRNR logo COBO Bottle) – $45
- Sponsorship – multiple levels and bespoke packages available – contact us!
- Website: therednoserun.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therednoserun/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therednoserun/
The Red Nose Run