Blue skies and crisp temperatures greeted over 8,000 people in Downtown Roanoke on Thanksgiving morning, as they prepared for the festivities of the Drumstick Dash.
Hosted by the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, the Drumstick Dash raises funds for the meals they provide to clients. With an important cause on the line, people from across Virginia gathered at the event, prepared to walk, run, or cheer in support.
The race commenced shortly after 8AM, contemporary Christian music serenading runners and walkers as they rushed through 5 kilometers of cement and sidewalk. The path traveled up Williamson Road to the Historical Society, wound around Norfolk Avenue, and took participants down Jefferson Street, with a small detour around Church and Luck Avenues, until the end, where a bold banner announced the finish line.
At the finish line, located in front of the iconic Patrick Henry Hotel, a crowd of onlookers cheered as the first few runners began to emerge from the maze of Downtown Roanoke. Johnny Atienza broke through the finish ribbon first, running about 3.1 miles in nearly 16 minutes. To view the full results of the race, visit drumstickdash.net.
As runners and walkers continued to flood the finish, costumes made more appearances as well. Hats and shirts were adorned with turkeys, banana costumes were thrown over running gear, and funny t-shirts filled the streets with more running puns than I previously knew existed. Despite the strenuous exercise, there was fun and laughter in excess.
On a day dedicated to cherishing loved ones and serving others, the annual Drumstick Dash is a positive reminder of the messages of Thanksgiving.
– Sophia Stringer