Proceeds to benefit Keep Sevier Beautiful and Dollywood’s Share It Forward employee assistance program
Light the Way 5K returns this holiday season with a new and improved course that winds its way through the holiday atmosphere at Dollywood, not once, but twice. Participants in the ninth annual Light the Way 5K will run through five million Christmas lights inside Dollywood beginning 11 p.m. on Friday, November 12, as they make this festive race one of their favorite holiday traditions.
New and Improved for 2021
When the race had to be canceled in 2020, Light the Way 5K officials looked at how to improve the experience for both serious and casual runners. Participant feedback over the last several years prompted changes that are being implemented for the 2021 race; the decision to provide finishing medals for all participants and a change that allows more time to run through the theme park.
Light the Way 5K’s new route will start runners at Dollywood’s front gate area and take them through the theme park twice, allowing time to take in the five million Christmas lights of the award-winning Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. Walkers will have the opportunity to follow the route for one loop around the park. Additionally, 2021 will be the first year participants will experience Wildwood Grove, which opened in 2019, as part of the race course.
Racing for a Cause
Proceeds from the event will benefit both the Keep Sevier Beautiful and Share It Forward program at Dollywood. Keep Sevier Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is a volunteer-based organization which focuses on waste reduction/recycling, litter prevention and beautifying public spaces through education and community-based programs. Keep Sevier Beautiful’s goal is to protect the natural beauty of the area that millions of visitors come to experience each year. Share It Forward is a non-profit organization which serves The Dollywood Company employees and their families through a variety of quality programs. Share It Forward programming is funded primarily through employee donations, which are matched dollar for dollar by The Dollywood Company.
“It’s so exciting to be hosting runners at the Light the Way 5K, with an expanded course,” said Aaron Newberry, Executive Director of Share It Forward. “The beauty of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival, combined with the challenge of a course that only a theme park can provide, makes Light the Way a one-of-a-kind event for runners and walkers.”
“Most importantly, this event helps provide our non-profit organizations with financial assistance just before the holidays,” added Lisa Bryant, Executive Director of Keep Sevier Beautiful.
The certified race will be chip timed and managed by Scenic City Multisport. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers for both men and women.
Pre-registration is encouraged for the Light the Way 5K as the race is limited to 1,500 participants. Registration fee until race day is $50. Register online at www.lighttheway5k.net. Race day registration takes place from 11AM-9PM at Dollywood’s Splash Country.