What would the holiday season be without colorful, sparkling lights illuminating the night sky? If going to see holiday lights is on your to do list this December and you love to run, then join the South Philly Striders and Fishtown Beer Runners for their Holiday Lights Run on Thursday, December 11 at 7 p.m.

Donna Searer, a runner with South Philly Striders, first started this event in 2009 after moving to Old City from Wilmington, Delaware. She found herself missing the holiday lights she would see there and mentioned it to one of the founders of South Philly Striders who took her on a tour of the lights in South Philadelphia, and from there a run was a born.

"The lights in South Philly are insane," she said.

Searer's husband runs with the Fishtown Beer Runners and they are both friends with the FBR president, David April, so it seemed natural in 2010 to ask them to join in the fun.

"We have a lot of members that run with both groups and members of South Philly Striders also run with us so it seemed the logical thing to do. We do a lot of things together," David April, president of the Fishtown Beer Runners explained.

"What makes this run unique is the experience of the lights. South Philly really has a special way to decorate for the holidays. Not only is it the lights but the music as well," April said.

"Running through neighborhoods hearing and seeing all the holiday spirit is an amazing experience," he added.

This year's run starts at Broad and Oregon and ends at the American Sardine Bar at 18th and Federal St. The route is about 3.5 miles.

"There are two cul-de-sacs close to Broad and Oregon that we always try to go to because all the houses are usually lit up," Searer said.

There is no registration for this run. People can just show up on Thursday night ready to run. The two running groups do ask though that runners consider making a donation for a worthy cause.

Giving back to the community is very important to both the South Philly Striders and the Fishtown Beer Runners, so they ask participants to make a donation to Philabundance, a nonprofit organization that provides food to approximately 65,000 people per week in the Delaware Valley. You can make a virtual donation online or you can bring cans of food to the run.

Once the run is over, everyone is invited to celebrate Fishtown Beer Runners-style at the American Sardine Bar.

"Over the years the run has become so big that no bar can handle us, but luckily the American Sardine Bar has the past couple of years opened their back garden and upstairs to us," Searer said. "They decorate it with lights and it is a big night for us."

For more information about the Holiday Lights Run, visit the event page. Feel free to decorate yourself with bells and lights or dress up in a holiday costumes.

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