Thousands run through Trail of Lights week before official opening

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Around 8,000 people jogged through the massive display of Christmas lights at Zilker Park Saturday evening. Organizers say the fun run is what helps kick off the event every year.

“You can’t have any event in Austin without a run attached to it, right?” said Trail of Lights Foundation Executive Director James Russell. “With Austin being the fit city that it is, I think there is a reasonable expectation to be able to run through the trail of lights, and who am I to not let them do that.”

With more than 40 displays and two million lights sparkling in the park, joggers got a sneak peak before it opens to the public.

‘We stopped a little bit to take some pictures,” said Megan Bolen, who just finished the run.

Although the lights were the main attraction, it wasn’t the only thing people were talking about.

“I think the lights make it feel more like Christmas than the weather does, so it kind of gets us in the festive spirit,” said Bolen.

“Last year it was a lot colder and it was raining, but even still the lights get you ready for Christmas. This year it makes it super easy to get in shape, it’s easy to run in this temperature for sure…even if we are sweating,” said jogger Jamie Tulisiak.

As the joggers were celebrating their run, event organizers were celebrating a good turnout thanks to the nice weather.

“Everything that we do, like the run, goes toward paying for the Trail of Lights,” said Russell. Russell says the city put a stop to the event in 2008 due to budget constraints. After a hiatus for three years, leaders came up with a new idea. “We organized a non-profit to go out and privately raise the funds to do this,” he said.

Trail of Lights officially opens to the public next weekend. Tickets are free for the first week, and then most nights it will cost you $3 to get in. KXAN is a proud sponsor of the Trail of Lights.

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