COVID-19 Updates

July 29, 2020

To our incredible Dash community:

We are so looking forward to our 18th annual Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving morning!

The COVID-19 pandemic has left our neighbors experiencing homelessness all the more vulnerable. In the midst of this crisis, Wheeler Mission has remained faithful in providing the shelter, food, and critical services they desperately need. To ensure Wheeler Mission has the resources it requires to extend help and hope to men, women, and children, it has never before been more important for us to lace up our shoes on Thanksgiving morning!

That being said, the safety and health of our participants is of the utmost importance. We have made several adjustments to this year’s Drumstick Dash, and we’re so excited to share what we have planned. 

PLEASE NOTE: As the COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid and ever-changing situation, our plans remain contingent on all guidelines provided by the State, County, and Health Department.

While our event may look different, our fun, festive, quirky Thanksgiving race will still deliver the cheer, smiles, and holiday exercise you have enjoyed in the past! The most up to date race-day information can be found here on our website, but here is where things stand today!


  • NO in-person expo or packet pickup.
  • YES -  a live, interactive virtual expo (more details to come!).
  • Drumstick Dash will mail each participant’s packet for FREE ($14.95 savings), beginning mid-October.
    • Those who already paid for shipping will be refunded the entire shipping cost.
  • Registration price will increase to $39 on August 1st, but there will be no more price increases.

Modified Start Line:

  • Same start area from Indianola to Compton
  • 2 thirty-minute “rolling start” waves - 8am & 10am
    • Limited to 3,000 each wave
    • Approximately 12.5 square feet per person if everyone showed up at the same time
  • Choose start time during registration
    • Those who are already registered will be emailed instructions on how to go back and choose
  • Masks worn at start line

Modified Finish Line:

  • OPTIONAL RaceJoy tracking app
    • Participants can time themselves
    • Friends/family can track progress & send cheers
  • NO traditional food court
    • Pre-packaged items – grab one bag of goodies
  • YES - masks worn in finish area


  • NO water stations
    • BYO water if needed
  • NO start-line concert
  • YES start and finish line music/emcee
  • YES first-aid stations
  • YES course entertainment 
    • DJs
    • Selfie stations
    • Course Fun Patrol



  • More engaging and interactive
  • RaceJoy Anywhere App 
    • Tracks where you run and your mileage
    • Submits your time when you finish
    • Friends & Family can track and send cheers
  • More inclusive with the in-person event 
    • Prizes
    • Social media engagement
  • If we must cancel the in-person Drumstick Dash, every participant will be changed over to virtual. Participants who don't wish to Dash virtually can instead choose to donate their registration cost to Wheeler Mission. The Drumstick Dash is Wheeler Mission’s largest annual fundraiser—we are so grateful for your generosity and participation during this time!

Steve Kerr, Wheeler Mission’s Executive VP of Advancement and Drumstick Dash founder, explains how these changes came about and why this event is so important to our community. 

"While the safety of our participants is our number one concern, we looked at a number of scenarios for a live Drumstick Dash and feel this plan offers both a safe, outdoor environment and a fun opportunity to gather together to celebrate family on Thanksgiving and help those experiencing homelessness in our community"

We are so excited to host you for a SAFE, FUN, and FESTIVE Thanksgiving morning race! Thank you for standing with us and get ready to lace up and “Move your feet so others can eat!®”


Tammy Ellis
Director of Special Events
Wheeler Mission


May 13, 2020

The Drumstick Dash team and Wheeler Mission staff pray you are staying safe, well, and encouraged in this challenging season. In light of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we are closely following and adhering to the guidance of the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis, the Marion County Board of Health, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

At this point in time, we eagerly anticipate the 18th annual Drumstick Dash, and plan to see you in person on Thanksgiving morning! The COVID-19 pandemic has made our neighbors experiencing homelessness all the more vulnerable, and it has never been more important to “Move your feet so others can eat!®” Wheeler Mission and the men, women, and children in its care are counting on you to lace up your shoes this Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, we are thoughtfully and carefully considering various options to ensure the health and safety of all participants, volunteers, and staff. This is our top priority. While adjustments to our race and expo may be necessary, we are doing our best to ensure that this year’s Drumstick Dash will still be the fun, quirky, festive, and beloved tradition you and your family and friends have enjoyed in the past!

What can you do right now?

Register! This event is owned and operated by Wheeler Mission, so 100% of the funds raised directly support men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. “But what if we are not able to gather on Thanksgiving morning?”, you may be wondering. We have options!

1.       Transfer your registration to our Virtual Race and run wherever you are!
2.       Donate the cost of your registration.

Wheeler relies on the Drumstick Dash, as it is a significant portion of our critical operating funds each year. Will you show your support and care for your neighbors by registering NOW?!

Dashers, this season has been all things weird, surprising, scary, and just plain hard. But let’s stand together as a force for good for our neighbors in desperate need. This Thanksgiving, we know you’ll be ready to “Move your feet so others can eat!®”

With gratitude,

Tammy Ellis
Director of Special Events
Wheeler Mission

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