About the event
The Laurel Memorial Run/Walk takes place the third weekend in July each year. Day One consists of a 30-mile relay run, as well as "The Laurel-thon" for people who want to cover the entire relay route themselves. Day Two features walking and running events in Silver Creek, NY.
FRIDAY, JULY 16
We will gather EITHER at our traditional location (The Resource Center, 75 Jones & Gifford Avenue, Jamestown) or, if an indoor gathering isn't possible, we will meet just down the street at McCrea Point Park (the boat landing) at 8:00 a.m. for the kickoff to the Laurel Memorial Relay Run. Representatives from The Resource Center and other organizations will take turns running legs of the relay. We are looking to move the conclusion of the relay run to The Resource Center's location at 186 Lake Shore Drive West in Dunkirk, in order that more of our employees and people with disabilities can attend. All relay participants are encouraged to register online so they can sign the waiver and we can get their correct shirt size.
SATURDAY, JULY 17
With the pandemic easing and restrictions on outdoor gatherings being loosened, we're excited to be able to have in-person events in Silver Creek this year. (Please note that all plans are subject to change, based on changes in federal, state or local guidelines pertaining to the pandemic. Any changes will be communicated to participants as quickly as possible. In the event the in-person events are canceled there will be no refunds, but paid participants still will receive their 2021 Laurel Memorial Run/Walk T-shirt and commemorative medal.)
7:00 a.m. - Participant check-in and late registration begin
8:30 a.m. - 5K Walk begins (5K Walk will have two water stations)
9:00 a.m. - 8K Run begins (8K Run will have four water stations)
Everyone who pays the registration fee will receive a 2021 Laurel Memorial Run/Walk T-shirt and a commemorative medal. (TIP - When registering online, there is a $2.50 processing fee per registration transaction. So, you can save money by registering several people at one time, rather than registering individually.) People are encouraged to create a personal fund-raising page to collect donations from family and friends. If you do that and you raise $50 or more, we will waive the registration fee and you will receive your shirt and medal for free.
For the 8K Run, cash prizes ($100 for first place, $75 for second, $50 for third) will be awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers. For the 8K Run and 5K Walk, medals will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each age group.
We also will have team awards for the 8K Run and 5K walk. Team times will be based on the combined times of each team's first four finishers.
If you can't make it to the actual Laurel Run/Walk events, you can sign up to do a virtual run, walk or other activity.
Register by 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 1, to ensure you'll receive your T-shirt at the Laurel Run/Walk events. (People who register after 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 1, will still receive a shirt, but it may not be ready by Laurel Run/Walk weekend. If not, you will have the option of picking up your shirt or paying a $10 domestic shipping fee.) Registration fees will increase $5 Thursday, July 8.
The Laurel Memorial Run/Walk was created by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling in honor of their oldest daughter, Laurel, who had Down syndrome. For the inaugural event in 1997, Wayne set out to run more than 400 miles across New York State to spread the message that people with disabilities can accomplish great things, if they're given the chance to prove themselves. After covering more than 100 miles in the first five days, Wayne developed an injury that sidelined him for a while. After recuperating, he borrowed a bicycle and picked up where he lift off. When Wayne encountered steep inclines, he would stop riding and Elaine would walk up the hills to officially log the distance. The cross-state trek finished on time. People across the state were inspired by Wayne and Elaine's determination. So the Hotellings decided to turn Laurel Run into an annual event in their hometown of Silver Creek, NY.
For many years Laurel was the Grand Marshal of the event. Sadly, she passed away in 2017 at the age of 54. But her spirit lives on, and each year hundreds of people with disabilities turn out to support the event The Laurel Memorial Run/Walk is organized each year by the Hotellings; The Resource Center, which supports people with disabilities in Western New York State; Filling the Gap, Inc., which supports The Resource Center; and a dedicated group of volunteers. Money raised through the event enhances employment and work training opportunities for adults with disabilities, and also supports the advocacy efforts of people with disabilities. Laurel herself had a job at The Resource Center's manufacturing facility for more than 30 years, and she was proud of her weekly paycheck.
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