For Laurel

Annual event celebrates finish line

OBSERVER Photos by Damian Sebouhian. Relay runners carry their Laurel Run flags across the finish line in Dunkirk. Michael Bird, publisher of the Post-Journal, is pictured in the far right.

The 21st annual Laurel Run flag relay took place Friday as various teams of volunteer runners transported Laurel Run flags in stages from Jamestown to Dunkirk, celebrating their finish at Washington Park.

The two-day event was created by Silver Creek residents Wayne and Elaine Hotelling in honor of their oldest daughter Laurel, who has Down syndrome.

“We missed the run last year,” said Elaine Hotelling, who was on hand at Washington Park for the celebration.

“Laurel had to go to the hospital last year and so we missed the event for the first time. We were really looking forward to this year to get back to it,” she added.

The event is put on annually to raise money for Filling the Gap Inc., which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian. Lisa Glasier and Rose Carr ran nearly 30 miles from Jamestown to Dunkirk, raising nearly $800 for The Resource Center in the process.

A few runners made the entire trek from Jamestown to Dunkirk non-stop in a portion of the event called the Laurel-thon. Lisa Glasier and Rose Carr completed the Laurel-thon, raising nearly $800 in the process.

“We set up a fundraising page and that’s why we did this,” said Glasier. “To bring awareness to this awesome event. The money all goes to The Resource Center.”

“The finish line is the best,” Carr said, referring to the welcoming group of volunteers and Resource Center members celebrating the event in Washington Park. “You can’t beat this finish line. We would like to thank all the people that sponsored us. We were able to raise $760 the last I checked.

“We’re looking forward to next year’s run already.”

This year’s Laurel Run is being dedicated in memory of four Laurel Run veterans who passed away in 2017: Virginia “Ginger” DeStevens, Jack Lang, Tony Prinzi and Kay Nary.

Saturday’s events will include a 5-kilometer walk and 1-kilometer run-walk starting at 8:30 a.m.; an 8-kilometer run starting at 9 a.m.; a Children’s Fun Run starting at 10:20 a.m.; and Laurel’s Lap, which starts at 10:30 a.m.