Drumstick Dash moves to Rivers Edge Park, cites police shortage for route change

The change is due to the lack of police availability for the race.

ROANOKE, Va. – If you’re running the Drumstick Dash this year in Roanoke, the course is going to look a little different than it has in the past.

In previous years, the race has gone through downtown; however, this year, the course will go through Rivers Edge Park with the starting line on Wiley Drive.

“We’re just hoping that as we get together on Thanksgiving morning, people remember the things that make the dash, the dash,” Kevin Berry with the Roanoke Rescue mission said.

According to the race’s website, the downtown route requires an officer at every traffic light and major intersection. That means a minimum of 13 officers, with ideally 15 to 18 officers.

The Roanoke City Police Department shared this statement below:

“It is accurate that we could not meet the minimum number of required officers and supervisors needed to safely host an event this large in our City. In an effort to keep the Drumstick DASH on its traditional course, we reached out to neighboring jurisdictions to see if they could provide the necessary personnel. While we were able to get some additional staffing from those outside agencies, unfortunately, it was still not enough personnel to safely host this event in our Downtown area.

We are extremely glad that the Drumstick DASH was able to move to Rivers Edge Park and that runners will now get to experience the beautiful Greenways of Roanoke, while keeping the event as safe as possible for everyone involved.“

“With the current staffing crisis with all Police Departments, the force is stretched so thin that they are unable to provide the level of officers needed to provide safety for the Downtown course,” the website reads.

You can read the full statement from race officials below:

These last few days have been a whirlwind of conversations with Roanoke City Traffic & Engineering - then follow ups with our Race Director, Roanoke City Police Chief Sam Roman, the Sheriff’s Department and Police Chiefs from every surrounding locality and even friends who sprang into action to get certified traffic flaggers.

On the current race course in Downtown Roanoke, we need a police officer at every traffic light and major intersection. This requires a minimum of 13 officers and ideally 15-18 officers.

With the current staffing crisis with all Police Departments, the force is stretched so thin that they are unable to provide the level of officers needed to provide safety for the Downtown course.

The DASH must go on!

With lots of behind the scenes work, we have identified an alternative course utilizing areas around Rivers Edge and the Greenways. Our team is working diligently to set up this course with a level of excitement and fun that the Atlantic Union Drumstick Dash is known for.

What do we need?

We need you! Come out, wear your best turkey costumes, bring your kids, bring your grandparents, bring your strollers and dogs. Most of all bring a huge smile on your face knowing that you are moving your feet so others can eat.

Prayers are needed! For the Rescue Mission, the DASH, and our dedicated local police force.

See you Thanksgiving morning!


About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.