Holiday Light Run

As a kid, my family used to pile in the car and drive around looking at holiday light displays. I still love the lights, but as an adult with no kids, I feel kind of odd driving around town “oohing and aahing” by myself. That’s just one of the 150 reasons that being part of a running community is awesome. Now, instead of driving around, each year my running buddies gather to run through a local neighborhood to enjoy all things merry and bright.

Holiday Light Run 2018 

If you’ve never done a holiday light run, here are a few tips to get you started. 

Pick Your Location
I’m lucky to live near a neighborhood where around 100 houses take part in a holiday light extravaganza each year, with some houses even streaming holiday music outside for everyone’s enjoyment. If you don’t know of a neighborhood near you, Google “holiday lights near me” to find one. Be sure to drive, walk or run the neighborhood in advance so you have a good lay of the land. You want a high density of houses participating and it’s best if the terrain is relatively flat to make it accessible for everyone. Two to three miles is a good distance. If neighbors are out, ask them for the best nights to run through the neighborhood. Typically, weekends are packed with vehicle traffic, so I plan our run on a Monday or Tuesday evening when there will be fewer cars on the road.

Holiday Light Run 2018 

Invite friends and family
December is an action-packed month, so I send out a save the date two weeks before the night of the run so people can get it on their calendar. In the past, we’ve gone to a local restaurant for dinner after the run, but this year, I wanted to try something different so decided to host a light supper at my house afterward. I sent an electronic invitation asking for RSVPs a week before, with a reminder that went out two days before.

Holiday Light Run 2018 

Be sure to let people know that the holiday light run is a fun run with lots of stops along the way to see the various displays. This isn’t a serious, set your Garmin and work on a pace run, but rather a great opportunity for people of all abilities to come together to enjoy an evening out. Walkers, strollers, and well-behaved dogs are welcome to attend, which allows people of all paces and abilities, and even friends and family who aren’t runners, to join in the fun.

Cool display in one of the garages along the run

Plan Refreshments
People generally come straight from work, so by the time everyone is finished running, they are famished. If you’re going to continue the evening with refreshments, have a plan going in so people are prepared and there’s not a lot of hemming and hawing about where to go. Pick a low-cost restaurant nearby or host at someone’s house. I’ve found that many people are overextended with either budget, too much eating out this time of the year, or both, which is why I decided to host the gang this year.  Soup, salad, and bread was an easy enough meal for me to pull together on a week night, and people were happy to  bring something share.

Uh oh, the Weather Became Frightful! 
It is December after all, so a chance of rain (or snow) will exist. We didn’t have to deal with any weather, but decided up front that light showers wouldn’t cancel our run. In case of a downpour, we would have the option of jumping in cars to drive around the neighborhood instead. People who couldn’t make it to the run were still welcome to stop in afterward for a bite to eat.

As a member of the Rock N Blog 2018 team, I received 10 free entries to Rock N Roll Marathon races.