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SILVER CREEK –Runners and walkers are preparing for the annual Laurel Run July 18 and 19.

The two-pronged event gets underway Friday July 18 with the long-distance relay race and three-runner marathon race, spanning Chautauqua County. The featured 8K run and 5K walk events are scheduled for Saturday July 19 in Silver Creek,

The July 18, 30-mile marathon race for the three runners, dubbed the Laurel-thon, features Keith Gregoire of Amherst, Paul Gavin, a Dunkirk native, and Joseph Kolinsky of Manhatten, who will attempt the entire distance.”

“I had heard of the Laurel Run for years and wondered if anyone had ever tried to run the whole distance from Jamestown to Dunkirk,” said Gavin. “I thought it would be a challenge and would raise awareness for the effort. The course has several large hills, especially through Cassadaga. 

The event raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities and is named for Laurel Hotelling, the daughter of Wayne and Elaine Hotelling of Silver Creek. The Hotellings launched the Laurel Run in 1997 as a way of honoring their daughter and all people with disabilities.

The event features several hundred runners and walkers, as well as special activities for children, including a 1K walk and a short-distance Laurel’s Lap. A motorcycle run and other events also are part of the July 19 schedule. 

“We are excited that these three men want to promote our event with the challenging 30-mile course between Jamestown and Dunkirk,” said Wayne Hotelling. He said the runners plan to leave Jamestown at 6 a.m. and arrive in Washington Park in Dunkirk at about 1 p.m.

The three runners plan to be in Dunkirk about the same time as a relay team brings flags to the park. The relay race gets underway at 9 a.m. at the Resource Center on Jones and Gifford avenues in Jamestown. Various teams will complete 2- to 3-mile legs of the relay mainly along Route 60.

Wayne Hotelling said the relay runners represent several schools and businesses, with the final leg featuring staffers of the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Facility at Brocton, who will run in cadence and carry the flags to the ceremony in Washington Park.

Wayne, a retired schoolteacher, ran, walked and biked more than 400 miles across New York State for the inaugural event. Laurel plans to attend the events with her parents. 

Anyone who would like to participate in the relay or Saturday events can call the Resource Center at 661-4735 or visit the website at www.laurel-run.com