SILVER CREEK - After taking part in the 1K walk with her mother, Laurel got on her bike to take part in Laurel's Lap at the 18th Annual Laurel Run Saturday morning.
Leading the way, Laurel and her friends went around the track in downtown Silver Creek. The rain didn't faze the participants as they all reached the finish line, where crowds gathered to cheer them on.
"It's not cold, and a little bit of rain won't stop them," Laurel's mother, Elaine Hotelling, said.
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Laurel Hotelling gets ready on her bicycle to lead the participants in Laurel’s Lap Saturday during the 18th Annual Laurel Run.
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Wayne Hotelling cheers on Brian as he reaches the finish line.
Sam Bowers comes around the last turn as he makes his way to the finish line during the second annual Children's Race Saturday.
Laurel's Lap is a special event during the Laurel Run that allows those with disabilities to run or walk once around the track, giving all their effort and most of all having fun. Hotelling mentioned that Laurel's Lap is their time to participate and shine. From first place to the very last person making their way across the finish line, people watched and rooted them on.
"We tell people in the 8K race that it will be the hardest race they'll run because they have to go up hills and all of that," Hotelling said. "And yet you see these people every day get up and face challenges like that. They come out and go around the track and succeed."
Co-director of the Laurel Run Steve Waterson made his way around the track with Brian as the rain lightly fell. He stated that Brian is on the planning committee. Waterson also called him one of the most enthusiastic volunteers, raising money and making products for the Chinese auction.
"He lives and breathes the Laurel Run," Waterson said. "He'll call me next week and want to start making plans for next year. He loves the event."
Waterson went on to compliment all the participants in Laurel's Lap, saying that, "they're out there doing the lap and trying very hard." Many are able to finish the race on their own, but those who weren't able received assistance from employees at The Resource Center.
Even though it took Brian and Waterson 10 minutes to reach the end line, he had a lot of support from Laurel and others as he came through.
"It's great because it gives people with disabilities their chance to shine in the spotlight," Waterson said. "And it also gives the crowd a better sense of what the Laurel Run is about and what people with disabilities are striving to do every day. They're striving to accomplish and achieve despite the challenges they face every day in their lives."
Before Laurel's Lap started, the Children's Lap commenced - one race for kids infant to 4 years old and the second race for children ages 5 to 9. In the first race, Gabriel Filkins edged out the other runners to take first place. In the second race, Sam Bowers came out on top for the second year in a row as he flew around the track.
Following the races, awards were given out by Laurel and members of The Resource Center to winners who participated in the 8K run and 5K walk. Laurel's father and organizer of the Laurel Run, Wayne Hotelling, commended everyone who participated in the 18th year of the Laurel Run.
"Thank you for everyone who showed up today," Hotelling said. "Please come back and join us next year. You help us immensely throughout the county in providing for people with disabilities."
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