Thousands of people flock every year to the most popular Thanksgiving Day race in Central Indiana, the Drumstick Dash. It started small, like most races do. But Steve Kerr, chief development officer at Wheeler Mission, had a vision and he has been at the helm guiding it into the mega-race that it has become. This is the 16th year for the event.

In 2003, its first year, the race drew 1,306 participants. In 2012, it had grown to 16,292, and last year participation swelled to 19,225. Organizers say they can accommodate 20,000-21,000 safely, and they are committed to keeping the race in Broad Ripple.

The Drumstick Dash falls on a day when most people have the day off from work. Since there are lots of relatives that come to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, they join in the fun too. That has helped create the race’s success. Everybody comes to Broad Ripple to run or walk so that they can eat a gigantic meal afterward. Justification at its finest!

The other very important component to this successful event is the cause, Wheeler Mission, which helps Hoosiers down on their luck. It is the oldest continuously operating social services nonprofit in Indianapolis. This homeless shelter’s compassion and care are credited with getting thousands of men back on their feet. In recent years, Wheeler Mission has also lent a helping hand to women and children in crisis.

Women and families represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population nationally and in Indianapolis, according to Colleen Gore, director of the Center for Women & Children at Wheeler Mission.

For the 125th anniversary this year, Wheeler Mission has a Thanksgiving Traditions Two of the Biggest Welcoming sign for Drumstick Dash new fundraising campaign. Visit to learn more. The Drumstick Dash has traditionally been Wheeler Mission’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

I personally have been blessed with “Celebrity Status” since 2004 and was even recognized as the Fastest Female Celebrity Runner three years in a row. This race is a family tradition for my loved ones, and perhaps it already is for yours. If not, please join us this Thanksgiving and “Move Your Feet so Others Can Eat!” Visit

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By Julie Patterson, Freelance Writer

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