Indianapolis Race uses Local Running Store Sponsor Relationship to Help Grow Past 20,000 runners!
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The 15th annual Wheeler Mission Drumstick Dash is coming this Thanksgiving morning and race organizers from the central Indiana non-profit are hoping for another record-setting year. 21,000 runners and walkers are expected this Thanksgiving in what has become the largest annual fundraiser for Wheeler Mission, Indiana’s oldest and largest homeless service provider.
The Wheeler Mission Drumstick Dash has become a mainstay for Hoosier families’ Thanksgiving Day traditions. In the sea of running events and amidst growing competition, the Drumstick Dash continues to see yearly record growth. Last year was the event’s largest in their history. Because the event is owned and operated by Wheeler Mission, each registration, monetary donation, or merchandise item sold goes to provide food, shelter, and care for the homeless in Indiana. Last year, the event raised nearly $750,000 for the cause.
One of the secrets to this success has been an important partnership they cultivated when the race first began in 2003. Bob Kennedy, a former Olympian and owner of Athletic Annex, a local running specialty store, has been involved in the race since it began. Now, in addition to being a sponsor of the important running event, Athletic Annex has been able to tie in their brand partners to help the race become one of the most popular Thanksgiving Day running events in the country.
“The Drumstick Dash seamlessly aligns with Athletic Annex’s mission to empower and inspire our community to live healthy and happy lives…one person, one day, one step at a time. Each year, the Athletic Annex team is energized by the Drumstick Dash participants’ passion and commitment to doing something positive for themselves while helping others in our community in need. We are very proud to be a small piece of all that the Drumstick Dash is for our community,” says Bob Kennedy.
Wheeler Mission’s Director of Marketing, Brian Crispin states, “Aligning ourselves with one of the up-and-coming, local running specialty stores provides the local touch our participants are looking for. Thanks to our partnership with Athletic Annex and the support and vision that Bob Kennedy has offered, our runners have grown to expect a high level of quality at this 100% cause-driven event. This includes working with their national relationships to provide premium merchandise and prizes. Offering items like an Asics technical shirt for all participants and prizes from companies like Polar Electro Inc., greatly helps us differentiate our event from the growing number of running event options. Athletic Annex helps us to make sure the money we raise at this event is maximized and will help the most people possible.”
This year, Bob Kennedy is also bringing his relationships in the industry to provide complete timing and results for every participant for the first time in the event’s history. The goal is to capture official finisher numbers so Wheeler Mission’s largest fundraising event can report official finisher numbers to their growing number of sponsors and be included on the national running lists.
Wheeler Mission’s Chief Development Officer and race founder, Steve Kerr, states, “My hope back in 2003 for a run/walk on Thanksgiving Day was to bring an event to the Indianapolis community that would help raise awareness to the issues of homelessness and to raise money for our organization. Bob and I never dreamed the race would grow to become one of the biggest races in Indiana; maybe the country. Our promise from the beginning has been to deliver a high-quality, fun, and family-friendly event for people to come celebrate the holiday and also provide for people less fortunate than themselves. Having a partner like Bob Kennedy and Athletic Annex helps us ensure this event stands out from the rest. Our participants now collect our high-quality race shirts every year, and we see people wearing them all over the community, year-round. It’s now one of our biggest advertising assets.”