Friday, July 19, 2019
In 1999, Laurel Memorial Run & Walk 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 Memorial Run & Walk had passed through every county in the State, and more than 20,000 people participated.
Laurel Memorial Run & Walk has retained the essence of that 1999 State-wide relay. Each year, relay runners transport a Laurel Memorial Run & Walk flag from Jamestown to Dunkirk to officially kick off Laurel Memorial Run & Walk weekend. We encourage students from area school districts to participate in the relay, in order to fulfill Laurel Memorial Run & Walk 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 Memorial Run & Walk 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 Memorial Run & Walk flag 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.