The event was so loosely organized that it is hard to determine when exactly it started — Westcoat said this is the fourth year, but organizer Kristen Miller said it is the sixth.
Regardless of its origins, organizers agree that what started as a casual private holiday celebration has become a communitywide event, the Holiday Light Run.
This year on Dec. 19, joggers and walkers will get decked out in their Christmas best and travel through the streets of Catonsville, singing holiday songs and spreading Christmas spirit for the event.
The event is not a race, Westcoat said, but a free, family-friendly event where people can travel at their own pace. Westcoat said organizers expect as many as 400 people to show up to the Hub’s parking lot on Frederick Road.
From there, participants can run, walk, bike — or, Westcoat suggested, skip — through Catonsville, where houses glitter with Christmas lights in December.
Miller said the shelter is looking for travel toiletries, hand soap, brushes and coffee supplies.
People are also encouraged to bring food and drinks to share in a potluck after the run. Many people order trays of food from local restaurants, Westcoat said. Miller said many people also bring champagne.
The Hub provides a fire pit, and Westcoat said in his experience, people “hang out until after midnight.”
The event has no budget, Westcoat said, though people and organizations volunteer their time or goods. The Hub is donating a bicycle, which everyone who participates in the run has a chance to win in a raffle.
They used to just “put the music on and let it go,” Westcoat said, but last year a local DJ, Jason Schwinabart, “kind of jumped in.”