Friday, July 15, 2016
In 1999, Laurel Run covered all of New York State. 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 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. We encourage students from area school districts to participate in the relay, in order to fulfill Laurel Run founder Wayne Hotelling’s desire that children develop an appreciation and respect for people with disabilities, values that Wayne hopes they will keep with them throughout their lives.
Whether you want to run a leg of the relay or just want to be part of the festivities, we invite you to join us. On Friday, the day before the main Laurel Run events, we gather at The Resource Center’s Michael J. Raymond Center, 75 Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown, for a free kickoff breakfast from 8:00 to 8:30. Following speeches from dignitaries, we proceed as a group along the sidewalk to Eighth Street, where the first set of relay runners begins the trek to Dunkirk.
The various legs of the Laurel Run flay relay are typically 1 to 3 miles in length, and many people opt to run more than one leg. In Fredonia, employees of the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility join the relay, and they lead the runners to the finish while jogging in cadence.
The relay ends at Washington Park in Dunkirk, where the City hosts a Victory Celebration from noon to 2:00. As the last relay runners arrive, they are greeted by cheers from individuals with disabilities and their support staff from The Resource Center.
Local schools are encouraged to put together teams of students to take part in the relay. We also challenge schools to raise money for Laurel Run by creating their own online fund-raising pages at www.firstgiving.com/trcfoundation.
You don’t have to be a student to participate in the Laurel Run relay. Anyone interested in running a leg of the relay should complete the contact form, and a representative will be in touch with you.