The journey of the 30-mile Laurel-thon began at 6 a.m. for three individuals. Starting in Jamestown, the goal to reach Washington Park in Dunkirk by early afternoon was accomplished.
Keith Gregoire of Amherst and Paul Gavin of Dunkirk were the first runners to reach the park. Upon reaching the finish line, they hurried for a drink and took a rest. Gregoire mentioned that they could see their breath since the weather in the morning was only 48 degrees. As the day went on, the weather became perfect for a run.
"A lot of the times, the sun would bother me, but not today," Gregoire said. "It was cool enough and it felt really good to run."
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Employees of the Lakeview Shock Correction Facility, along with runners from Silver Creek and Fredonia, make their way into Washington Park with the Laurel Run flags Friday afternoon.
Gregoire went on to say that he doesn't run a lot of distance, but does a few to keep a base. Gavin and he have been trying to hit marathons in different states since they've done quite a few in the state.
"We've done 10 different states," Gregoire said.
"We did New Jersey in March and we did the Walt Disney Marathon in January."
Laurel, Wayne and Elaine Hotelling made a stop in Cassadaga to see the participants in the middle of their run. The family stopped and took some pictures with the runners and Laurel. Wayne Hotelling said that they looked very strong and amazing.
"If you hit the wall in the marathon, what do you do if you're running 30 miles?" Hotelling said.
Joseph Kolinsky of Manhattan made his way down Fifth Street into the park alongside his friend Amy Pease. He arrived in town yesterday afternoon and rested in Jamestown to prepare himself for the journey. Being from the city, Kolinsky mentioned the hills to be the toughest part of the journey.
"I'm from New York City," Kolinsky said. "You don't see hills like this, you only hear about hills like this."
On top of the 30-mile run Kolinsky took part in, he will also run the 8K at the Laurel Run tomorrow.
"As long as I get a big thing of chocolate milk and a nice burger, I'll be happy," Kolinsky said. "It's a lot of fun and it's all for a great cause."
The final group of runners, lead by employees of the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Facility, made their way into the park from Fredonia with the Laurel Run flags waving in the air.
Runners from Silver Creek and Fredonia also took part. The crowd awaiting their arrival cheered and clapped as they made their entrance. Co-organizer of the Laurel Run, Steve Waterson also was among the group who ran into the park.
"We always arrive a little later than we anticipate, but it went well and everybody arrived safely," Waterson said. "Last year, it was so hot and humid, so it's nice to not have to put up with it. It's great that the kids come out from the schools, because it's such a great thing building awareness and appreciation."
Mayor A.J. Dolce was in attendance and thought it was nice to see the employees of the correctional facility along with other participants taking part in the event.
"It's great for the City of Dunkirk because it's a wonderful event within the community," Dolce said. "It's great to be a part of something special in the Laurel Run."
The 18th Laurel Run is slated to begin at 7 a.m. today with check-in and late registration. Opening ceremonies commence at 8:10 a.m. with the 5K and 1K walks following. The gun will sound for the 8K around 9 a.m. The Children's Run and Laurel's Lap are set to take place at 10:30 a.m. with the Motorcycle Dice Run concluding events at the Laurel Run. For more information, visit www.laurel-run.com
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