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Over three hundred men, women and children crowded into the Roanoke Rescue Mission on Nov. 5 in search of a warm place to sleep for the night; as, usual they were welcomed with open arms. The Rescue Mission ministries are not in the business of turning people away but money doesn’t grow on trees. Every Thanksgiving Day in downtown Roanoke, thousands of racers and walkers gather with family, friends and strangers to “Move your feet, so others can eat”.
The annual StellarOne Drumstick Dash 5k will take place on Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Nov. 22. This will mark the seventh year that this race will take place with the participant number continuing to grow each year. According to Matthew King, who works with the Rescue Mission on promoting the race around the area, last year’s race had around 14,000 runners/walkers and this year they’re predicting to have up to 16,500.
Among those participating is Radford University sophomore Hannah Morrow whose first race was last year, she really enjoyed the atmosphere. “Other than being cold it was a great experience and a very cool environment,” said Morrow who plans to be a participant in the race again.
Lydia Chitwood, a high school sophomore in North Carolina, also started partaking in the race last year after family convinced her to. “I really like what the proceeds of the
race benefit and its such a great event to do with family,” said Chitwood who will participate in the race this year.
Amazingly, this is the only fundraiser for the Rescue Mission so it has to be a big one. So far with participant entries, 12 dollars for walkers and 22 for runners, the race has raised over 65,000 dollars. That is not including the generous sponsors who have contributed $113,000. “We have about 75 sponsors that are graciously stepping in to help what has been named the best local event in Roanoke,” said King. “All of the proceedings from the race stay in the Roanoke area and help residents who are in crisis with food, shelter and medical attention”.
For a race this size, volunteers are always needed. King says that all volunteers are welcome and are needed for help in these categories: crowd control, they help people get to where they need to be, photographers and entertainment. The entertainment adds another interesting aspect to the race for participants as musicians play for the participants as they wind through downtown Roanoke. Volunteers are also needed for the pre-race setup that takes place the week before to help with registering.
King feels that one of the best parts of the race is “being with 16,000 of your closest friends and relatives on a day that is all about family. We want it to be known as Roanoke’s Biggest Family Reunion.” If you are not registered yet do not stress as registration is still available online and there can never be too many people involved in this event. As King said, “Like at the Rescue Mission, there is always room for one more.”
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