Race Preview: 2014 Winter Wonderland of Lights

The 2014 Winter Wonderland of Lights is back again on Saturday November 29th at Portland International Raceway. It’s pretty crazy to be thinking about Christmas-themed races when you haven’t even ran a Turkey Trot yet, but the time is NOW to get to planning.

For those unfamiliar, this is an all ages, all abilities event that features a 2 mile, a 4 mile and a 6 mile run or walk that guides you through the entire Winter Wonderland lights on display every holiday season at the raceway. Each lap is 2-miles, so if you run a longer distance, you won’t have to worry about missing any great light structures. There will be no hills (it is a raceway after all),but this may not be the race you want to PR at (or perhaps you do). To me it feels like it has something for everyone, from the speedsters to those just wanting to get a relaxing run through the lights, to those pushing toddlers at a slow pace. This is a larger race of about 1800-2000, so if you plan of running more than the 2 miles, you will come across walkers. The track size is very generous and large, however, if you are racing it – realize this is a very family friendly event with strollers, scooters, dogs, and bikes!

There will be food and a live DJ, and booths with giftables to sample or purchase. It’s sure to be a magical, festive celebration!  You will not find a more family friendly event than this one. As stated above, strollers, wagons, & tricycles are encouraged to help make this a family fun event. I will be taking my daughters and it will be a first for all of us.

Here are some cool things about the race:

  • “Lil’ Elves” Parade – kids 12 years of age and under, and their bikes, trikes, wagons, strollers and more, decked out with holiday flair – best decorated entry wins a prize! Please, no battery-operated or motorized vehicles.


  • Jolly Ol’ St Nick – bring your camera and take holiday pictures with Santa and the Mrs.


  • “Brightest” holiday sweater – best overall festive holiday attire, and other contests with fun prizes for the most creative.


  • Complimentary post-race snacks – including Franz Bakery products, peanut butter, fruit and more will be provided for participants.


  • Hot Food & Beverages for purchase – Beer Garden featuring festive beverages including Deschutes Brewery seasonal ales and a coffee cart. There will be post-race snack for participants and a variety of food selections to purchase, including Hawaiian noodles and dishes, Philly Cheese steaks, soups & sandwiches, hamburgers & hot dogs, fish & chips and more.


  • DJ with music and dancing – for a holiday celebration surrounded by lights!


  • Expo booths with a variety of products to sample and fun, festive and useful products for purchase. Perfect holiday gift-ables!!


  • Commemorative long-sleeve event tech shirt – included with 2, 4 or 6-mile race entry (short-sleeve youth shirts not included with Lil’ Elves Parade entry, but may be purchased separately).


  • Contests & Prizes – Most Unique Holiday Sweater, “Brightest” Holiday Attire, Most Festive “vehicle” the Lil’ Elves Parade, and more!

Schedule of Events:

Packet Pick-up: 3:00pm – 4:45pm
Lil Elves Parade Start Time: 4:00pm
Race Start Time: 5:00pm and must be off the track by 6:55 pm.

Come for fun and a good time and you will not be disappointed!

Winter Wonderland of Lights (Portland)

 When: November 29, 2014 at 5pm
Where: Portland International Raceway (1940 N. Victory Blvd, Portland, OR 97217)
Register: Online here; $40 (includes shirt); Kids 10-18 for $20; Lil-Elves Parade $5 (or $15 with shirt)


About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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