Christmas lights Challenge COVID 2020 version by Susan Mackie

This year Jane Clarke set a slightly different challenge for us to take part in, with group choral singing disallowed a COVID version was proposed:
The Christmas lights run has 2 parts!  
1. A scavenger hunt! Each runner takes their group to their favourite lights and takes a picture.  
Best group of illuminations posted on FB wins the honour of winning!!
2. Christmas Strava shape! Second part, run a route that looks like a Christmas shape in Strava!  
Your group can choose(!) to do both or either one.  
Of course Christmas outfits and lights are a must!!

I started by meandering home via local housing estates to see where I thought the lights were most prolific/best/gaudiest, on the way back from running the Anniversary Waltz route I spotted a Grinch, and made him my ‘starting point.’ Over the next few weeks I started making a mental note of likely places and began marking them on a map. I then got some tracing paper and started plotting routes, initially thinking a Santa in a sleigh, and then curbing my ambition to a slightly easier tree shape. I plotted a route and tacked the second half ‘home’ onto the end of my Corsham 10k run, unfortunately the cold weather caused a failure in my I-phone, so I trotted back as far as I could remember the route.

Work then got quite busy in the weeks before Christmas, and suddenly I was due to be leading a group round the route I had planned, it looked fine on the map, but how would it look on the all important Strava plot? It got to the day of the run and I decided that a quick walk round the route might be wise. I put the dogs on leads and started walking. Some minor tweaks meant I could get additional lights in and included cutting out a big loop that made my tree even wonkier than it already was. The dogs and I were pacing quicker and I had the last few Kms to go…the bit where my phone had died and time was rapidly marching on towards when we were due to leave.  
Disaster! A bit I had plotted was a dead end, so a quick reroute was needed on the fly, after thinking I had all afternoon I was back home at 6.20, ready for a quick change, a few tweaks and then out again to lead the group.  

We started in Corsham High Street to view the art installation set up in the town hall and then made a series of seemingly random tracks through to the Grinch.

We then ran on towards the new builds on Park Lane and saw a sparkling unicorn that beckoned us away from the prescribed path. Our ‘angel/star/shape at the top of the tree was a bit more elongated than planned.

We then wound our way through Katherine park to many ooh and aahs.  

Then over valley road and a Tramways meander found some more lights that scored high on size and visibility.

The final part of the run involved fewer lights, but was necessary for the bottom branches and then a voluntary trot along into Corsham Court to make the ‘base’ of the tree.  
The group were quite surprised that we had a vaguely tree shaped form at the end, albeit one drawn by a three year old.