Running with Laurel: community strong for annual event

SILVER CREEK – Founder of the event and Laurel’s father, Wayne Hotelling, put it best as he spoke to the crowd regarding Laurel’s lap Saturday morning.

“If you did not see the last runner come to finish the last lap, than you have missed the meaning of the Laurel Run,” Hotelling stated. “Those of you that saw it witnessed something special.”

The 17th annual Laurel Run kicked off with opening ceremonies – without a drop of rain. Hotelling gave thanks to the participants for supporting people with disabilities. The gun shot in the first event of the day as the 5K walk commenced down Central Avenue. Soon after the 5K walkers started their course, the 8K runners took to the line and sped away down their route. Participants in both events included children, men and women of all ages.

“The turnout was really good and the weather held off,” said Elaine Hotelling.

Entering into the next two events was the children’s fun lap, which took place at the downtown ball park. Though a race for boys and girls 7 and younger, it still brought the cheers that the runners and walkers had coming to the finish. The first group of runners were children 4 years and younger. Winner of the race was Sam Bowers. Next were children in the ages of 5 to 9. Roan Kelly took first place.

Bringing an emotional ending to the day’s events was Laurel’s lap. Lead by Laurel on her bicycle, the race was for the individuals with disabilities. The lap is a way to celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities. Off they went around the track as supporters clapped and cheered each participant until they reached the finish line. Some took off on foot while others received assistance from caregivers. As Elaine Hotelling noted, this is something that many of the disabled look forward to.

“They look forward to this so much,” she said. “They get very excited. They want to know what kind of T-shirts they are going to wear. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Participant of Laurel’s lap, Tristan Wassmund, said after the race that he was quite tired. But in all, he had a great time. This is Tristan’s fifth year attending the event.

“I always have fun here,” he said. “It’s something I always enjoy. Listening to the music, running around the track during Laurel’s lap are things that I love to take part in.”

The handing out of awards closed the book to the 17th Laurel Run. Numerous awards for different age groups and events were handed out. Several winners of the 8K race donated the money reward back to Laurel Run in support for the disabled.

Proceeds from the Laurel Run go to Filling the Gap Inc. and the Resource Center to support disability awareness and prevention.

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