On a normal year, 10,000 people turn out for Roanoke’s Atlantic Union Drumstick Dash, a fundraiser that supports the Rescue Mission of Roanoke’s meal services program. The Dash is still happening this year, but it’s using a new format where individual racers sign up online and complete the race distance wherever they choose, anytime in November.
“When individuals sign up for the drumstick dash, what they’re really doing as we like to say is they’re providing an opportunity,” Drumstick Dash Coordinator Kevin Berry said.
“We have a lot of people that come here to the Rescue Mission, and we don’t really know what they’re looking for, but what they get is a hot meal and a conversation with those who work here. And that conversation many times will lead to case management, addiction services, emergency shelter, whatever that individual needs,” Berry said.
Last year the race provided over 200,000 meals, Berry said. In the past, the race has been a 5K, but this year, runners can opt for an 8K as well. Walkers can also complete a 5K. Racers use a phone app to track their mileage.
Berry said since there’s no easy way to compare the relative difficulty of the routes, there are no time rankings this year. However, there are plaques for largest teams in three categories: churches, businesses, or schools. On Tuesday, Berry said that 4,500 people had signed up, but he was hoping to have 6,000 by the end of November.
Runners in the 5K pay $32; 5K walkers pay $20, and the 8K run has been discounted to $27. Donors can also give money without racing.
“People really like the format. But what we’ve really been amazed by is the fact that those who have signed up have actually been donating above and beyond their race registration at an extremely high level, ” Berry said. “The donations we are getting are much higher than previous years.”
“It’s not just an awesome family event,” Berry said.
“It is really the largest anti-poverty, anti-hunger demonstration that we have here in the Roanoke valley,” he added. “It’s a way that people can show that they are taking a stand against poverty, against hunger, and encourage others to do the same.”
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