Suffolk

Suffolk running club draws Strava reindeer and sleigh

Reindeer map Image copyright Neal Hardwick/Strava
Image caption The route's creator Neal Hardwick said he found a roundabout for Rudolph's nose, and worked from there

Runners are taking to the streets - and "a bit of mud" - to cover a 10-mile (16km) route in the shape of a virtual reindeer and sleigh.

Kesgrave Kruisers, based in Suffolk, used exercise and route-sharing app Strava to create the image on a map.

Neal Hardwick from the group spent two hours designing the Rudolph-inspired route, finished by more than 80 people and a dog in two sets of runs so far.

About 100 club runners are expected to have completed it by Christmas.

Mr Hardwick first ran part of the route last year, using it as an image on his family Christmas cards, and extended it by adding a sleigh this year.

Image copyright Kerry Watson
Image caption Neal Hardwick designed the route using the app Strava

"When I was planning it, I saw a roundabout and I thought of using it as Rudolph's nose," said the 41-year-old IT worker from Kesgrave, near Ipswich.

"Then I worked backwards to find roads that could be his legs, his antlers and so on."

The reindeer part of the run covers 4.5 miles (7.25km), with a further 5.5 miles (8.85km) needed to complete the sleigh, "which was a bit muddy".

Image copyright Kesgrave Kruisers
Image caption Twenty-two runners and a dog completed the first run, with 60 following in their footsteps in a second set of runs on Thursday

It takes about two hours at an even pace, allowing runners at different speeds to join in.

Mr Hardwick has also run a route in the shape of a Santa face, and is already looking for designs for next Christmas.

"I'm not remotely artistic," he said, explaining where he gets his inspiration. "I can't draw - I just do it through sheer perseverance."

Image copyright Strava/Neal Hardwick
Image caption Neal Hardwick ran this 15.5-mile Santa design on his own

Earlier this month, a cyclist created a virtual reindeer on the streets of London after completing a 79-mile route, plotted out on an online map.

Anthony Hoyte, from Cheltenham, also cycled to create the outline of a snowman in 2017, and last year he made a picture of Father Christmas.

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