Annual Laurel Run Flag Relay to take place July 19
The 17th annual Laurel Run will kick off Friday, July 19, with the traditional Jamestown-to-Dunkirk relay run, and everyone is invited to take part.
Laurel Run celebrates the achievements of people with disabilities while at the same time driving home the message that people with disabilities can accomplish great things if given the opportunity.
Laurel Run was started in 1997 when Silver Creek resident Wayne Hotelling jogged and cycled more than 400 miles across New York State in honor of his oldest daughter, who has Down syndrome. In 1999, relay runners set out from eight different parts of the state, and some six weeks later the eight relay legs came together in Albany for a grand finale. Laurel Run had passed through every county in the state, and more than 20,000 people participated.
Laurel Run is now an annual event that takes place in Chautauqua County, but it has retained the essence of that 1999 state-wide relay. Each year, relay runners transport a Laurel Run flag from Jamestown to Dunkirk to officially kick off Laurel Run weekend.
The day will begin with a free community kickoff breakfast from 8:00 to 9:00 at The Resource Center’s facility at 75 Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown. Following remarks from the Hotellings and local dignitaries, everyone will proceed up the sidewalk as a group to Eighth Street, where the first set of relay runners will take off.
The first runners will follow North Main Street out of the city to Horton Road. From there, representatives from area school districts will run the various legs of the relay, passing off the flag as they go along. The runners will follow Route 60 to Laona, through downtown Fredonia and out Central Avenue to Dunkirk. Officers in cruisers from various law enforcement agencies will accompany the runners along portions of the relay.
In Fredonia, the runners will be joined by employees of the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Facility, who jog in cadence while leading the last group of runners to the finish. The relay ends at Washington Park, where the City of Dunkirk will host a victory celebration to greet the last set of runners when they arrive between 1:15 and 1:30.
By having students participate in the relay, Hotelling and his wife, Elaine, hope to instill in them a lifelong appreciation of people with disabilities. Children with disabilities can be the target of taunts and ridicule from their peers, and events such as Laurel Run help to spread the message that people with disabilities should be treated with respect.
If you would like to participate in Laurel Run as a representative of your school district, contact Hotelling at 934-3952 or at email@example.com. And you don’t have to be a student to take part in the relay – volunteers of any age are welcome. Those who participate in the relay will receive a 2013 Laurel Run T-shirt.
The 2013 Laurel Run relay is being sponsored by Premier Consulting Associates.
The day after the relay, the 17th annual Laurel Run will continue in Silver Creek with a 5-kilometer walk, a 1k walk, an 8k run, children’s fun runs, and “Laurel’s Lap” (for anyone with a disability), followed by a party in the Village Square. In the afternoon there will be a motorcycle dice run.
Proceeds from Laurel Run go to Filling the Gap, Inc., which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
For more information or to register for Laurel Run, call 661-4735 or visit www.laurel-run.com.