Trio set to tackle Laurel-thon
For the third straight year, several people are setting their sights on tackling the grueling Laurel-thon. And this year, the event will have an international flavor.
The Laurel-thon is held in conjunction with the annual flag relay, in which volunteers take turns running from Jamestown to Dunkirk. The relay legs are anywhere from 1 to 3 miles in length. For the Laurel-thon, people attempt to run the entire 30 miles.
Paul Gavin of Dunkirk (pictured above, right) and Keith Gregoire of Williamsville (left) completed the inaugural Laurel-thon in 2013, and they did it again last year. This year, they’ll be joined by Hans Cuypers of Belgium, who reached out to Laurel Run organizers and asked if he could also tackle the Laurel-thon. Hans has completed one marathon (which is 4 miles shorter than the Laurel-thon) and normally runs in events that are between 10 kilometers and 21 kilometers. He’s looking forward to the challenge of the Laurel-thon.
“Although the run will be difficult and challenging, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to overcome challenges,” Hans said, “whereas people with disabilities face challenges and barriers every day.”
The Laurel-thon will take place Friday, July 17. The runners will begin their trek in front of The Resource Center’s facility at 75 Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown. If all goes well they’ll finish several hours later at Washington Park in Dunkirk, where a victory celebration will be held to congratulate them and the relay runners.
The three men welcome any other distance runners to join them in the Laurel-thon. Paul and Keith will begin their run at about 5:30 a.m., while Hans won’t start until 8:00. Because he may be running alone and is unfamiliar with the route, Hans is looking for a volunteer interested in accompanying him in a vehicle.
Anyone interested in running the Laurel-thon or volunteering to drive a support vehicle can contact Steve Waterson at (716) 661-4735 for more information.
Hans has set up a fund-raising web page to collect donations for Laurel Run. To make a donation in support of Hans, Keith and Paul, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/HansCuypers/laurel-run-relay-and-the-laurel-thon-2015, or send a check made payable to “FTG/Laurel Run” to Filling the Gap, 92 Fairmount Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701.