5 Reasons to Run the Light the Way 5k

Did you know that you can run through Dollywood’s five million Christmas lights? Dollywood’s Light the Way 5k happens in November and offers an exclusive opportunity to enter the park after hours and enjoy the incredible Christmas lights as you run or walk through Dollywood.

The 10th annual Light the Way 5k is set for Nov. 11, 2022 at 11 p.m. Runners will begin at the front gate and loop through the park twice. If a 5k sounds too long, participants can choose a 1-mile fun walk instead, which will include only one loop through the park. Why should you sign up?

1. Motivation to Move Your Body

We all know that moving our bodies each day carries enormous benefits, but as fall sets in, our motivation can stall. Signing up for a 5k may be just the push you need to build healthy habits and keep yourself moving this fall!


2. An Early Dose of Christmas Spirit

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas begins on Nov. 5 this year, and the Light the Way 5k happens just one week later. Experiencing the beauty of the park immersed in Christmas lights can help you get a jump start on the season. If you want to be extra festive, consider wearing a Christmas-themed costume or a fun Christmas sweater for the event. After all, it’s never too early to get in the Christmas spirit!


3. A Chance to See Dollywood While It’s Closed

I ran the Light the Way 5k last year, and I loved getting to experience the park when it was closed to the public. This event is capped at 1,500 runners, so participants are able to enjoy the Christmas lights in a much different environment than during normal park hours. Being in Dollywood after hours is a rare opportunity, and the Light the Way 5k is one of the only ways to see the park when it is officially closed.

Insider Tip

Because the Light the Way 5k takes place late at night, combining this event with a stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa will make your race night even more enjoyable.

4. Support Two Great Non-Profits

Proceeds from the Light the Way 5k benefit two great non-profits: Keep Sevier Beautiful and the Share It Forward program at Dollywood. Keep Sevier Beautiful is a volunteer-based organization that aims to protect the natural beauty of Sevier County through efforts such as waste reduction, litter prevention and beautifying public spaces. The Share It Forward program is a non-profit organization that serves The Dollywood Company employees and their families. Supporting these local non-profits is an added benefit to participating in this festive event!


5. The Bling!

Is there a better feeling that finishing a race and having a medal placed around your neck? Every participant in the Light the Way 5k will receive a Christmas-themed medal to commemorate his or her accomplishment. Hang your medal somewhere special to remind yourself of a fun night in Dollywood or detach it from the ribbon and turn it into an ornament for your Christmas tree!

Because the Light the Way 5k is capped at 1,500 runners, online registration is strongly encouraged. Register online now at the Light the Way 5k website.

By | 2022-10-04T12:56:13+00:00 October 4th, 2022|Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jessica is a West Tennessee native who fell in love with East Tennessee while attending college and law school. She now lives in Knoxville with her husband, their five children and their two tiny dogs. Jessica loves encouraging families to try new things and make memories, which she does on her Instagram account. After visiting Dollywood for the first time in 2016, her family knew they had found a new favorite place. They now visit most every month, and you can find them hitting the coasters as soon as the park opens. As an Insider, Jessica is excited to share the things she loves about Dollywood with you!
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