The 17th Annual Big Ball Marathon was held Friday and Saturday at Silver Lake Park in Middletown
The 17th Annual MOT Big Ball Marathon is now in the history books. By all accounts the fund-raising event was a smashing success financially, and on the softball fields at Silver Lake Park in Middletown.
“I am pretty confident we will wind up around the $50,000 dollar mark, so around the same amount as we made last year, said Big Ball Marathon Director Kate Rokosz. “We may have been a little higher last years, but we received several big grants from organizations that helped our grand total in 2013. This year we were blessed with terrific weather, and that helped out with our turnout.”
Rokosz said it takes about one thousand people to put the event together every year. “We have a committee of twelve people who work on the project all year long, then you have 42 incoming softball teams, four marathon teams, who play all 24 hours, tons of community sponsors who donate food for the players and companies that supply tents and all of our food vendors, and it takes all one thousand people to pull off this event.”
The goal of the Marathon is to raise money to assists individuals, families in need, charities, and organizations in the MOT communities.
“We have a safety-net program, we help the various agencies in the MOT area the boys & girls club, some schools, some seniors and churches, and we have grants for people to apply for that assistance,” said Rokosz.
If anyone in the community needs assistance, they can go online to bigball.org, and there are grant applications on the website.
The Big Ball Marathon started at 6 p.m. on Friday night with an opening ceremony and a Home Run Derby on the MOT Little League Fields.
The Softball teams then took center stage and played throughout the night to the delight of some, and the eventual dismay of a few ambitious, but exhausted, weekend athletes.
The 24-hour marathon wrapped up with a unique event; riders on horseback from C-Line Stables, playing a form of modified softball.
Carol Shane, from Townsend, said she came out to watch the horses and riders, “This is just plain fun. We know some of the riders and the horses and this is a very exciting afternoon.”
Carol’s daughter, Summer Shane, said she was also having a lot of fun. “I like to ride horses, so I know some of the horses and the riders, so I am having lots of fun today, too,” she said.
Committee member Ted Whitlock, who’s been with the Marathon for three years, said the event has been growing nicely over the past five years. This year we probably had about 46 softball games played over the
24-hour period. “We have boys and girls, and people of all ages out on the softball fields, so there’s literally hundreds of people playing softball for a great cause, and they are all having lots of fun for 24-hours. And, I would add that people love the fact that they can come out here to Silver Lake, have some fun, and raise money for people and organizations in need,” he said. “Last year, we even sent some money to a family down south to help them recover from a tornado. Bottom line; we are helping people who need help.”
While this is the 17th year of the event, Whitlock said the Big Ball Marathon actually started about three decades ago as a fund-raiser for Muscular Dystrophy. “And that went on for a number of years, but then gradually died off for whatever reason, then 17 years ago, one of local citizens decide to restart the Big Ball Marathon, only this time, keep the money in the community. And since then, it’s become a bigger success,” said Whitlock.