Elite Feet holiday run tours lighted neighborhoods

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By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

With her breath visible under the waning light, Bridget Whitican was focused on the task ahead.

The Emmett resident was participating in the Elite Feet Holiday Light Run, a seven-mile run through Port Huron neighborhoods decorated with Christmas lights.

“I’ve never done the Christmas group run before, so I figured I would give it a try,” Whitican said. “I had no idea they ran all the way down to Sherman Woods.”

Amy Meeker-Taylor, an employee at Elite Feet, said while the group runs every Thursday, this week’s run was special because of what would be seen on the route.

“It’s a popular run because we run through the lights,” Meeker-Taylor said. “Running in the winter can sometimes be a bummer because it’s dark. Having those Christmas lights kind of makes it more exciting.”

The runners sped past the Blue Water Bridge and included a tour of the Sherman Woods subdivision — known for its glowing orbs and other Christmas decorations.

“This is the third year we have done the lights run, but we have been doing organized runs since the store opened,” Meeker-Taylor said. “We do these night runs all throughout the year, but this time of year is an added benefit because of the lights.”

More than two dozen runners met early at the store’s downtown location where they discussed the route and put on the proper apparel for a night run.

Some of the participating runners dressed as brightly as the Christmas lights.

A couple wore festive hats adorned with reindeer antlers. One runner had bells strapped to her ankles, which made noise with each step.

Ontario resident Henry Vroom wore a bright orange long-sleeve shirt with bright fluorescent yellow stripes stretching across the back.

He has been running with the group at least once a month for the last six months. He has lost 50 pounds and met new people.

“I determine what I wear depending on the temperature, the wind and the time of year,” Vroom said, looking outside the store’s window. “Right now it’s quite dark. I’ve got a reflector band on and when a car’s headlights hit my shirt I’ll light up.”

While many talked about how much nicer the weather was compared to last year, Meeker-Taylor said the colder temperatures can be a positive for running.

“Some people actually prefer running in the cold as opposed to the heat,” she said. “It’s a good way to stay motivated and have people to run with. This will always be a fun family event.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 18, 2014)

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