The M.O.T. Big Ball Marathon set a new record this year by raising nearly $64,000 in donations that will be distributed to local community groups, schools, charities, families and individuals.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the record-breaking fundraising total, but M.O.T. Big Ball Marathon chairman Kate Rokosz was unabashed Saturday in her opinion of this year's event.

"This was the best year ever," she declared as the 16th annual, 24-hour test endurance test reached its final hours. "Everything went so smoothly, it was like it was meant to be. Even the little things came together for us."

One big thing that came together for the Big Ball Marathon was its fundraising, which set a new record-high this year at $63,469 with additional donations expected to trickle in over the next week. That tops the previous record of $58,000 set by last year's event.

This year, four marathon teams played 12-hour stretches against 46 incoming teams, each of which played for exactly one hour. All told, nearly 700 people participated in this year's oversized softball epic, supported by dozens of volunteers, family, community members, musicians and – for the first time this year – food and retail vendors.

For Rokosz, the 18-member Big Ball committee and a handful of volunteers, the event began at 10 a.m. on Friday – a full eight hours before the official 6 p.m. start at Silver Lake Park.

"I managed to go home and sleep for about two hours last night," she said. "I'll probably be in bed about 10 minutes after we wrap up tonight and then I'll sleep until Monday, which is exactly why we do this on Labor Day weekend every year."

Donations to the Big Ball Marathon are still being accepted at or by mailing a check to M.O.T. Big Ball Marathon, P.O. Box 329, Middletown, DE 19709.