GLADSTONE - High school baseball doesn't start until spring but that didn't stop nearly 50 runners from crossing home plate, at Don Olsen Field, during the Second Annual Grand Slam Fall Classic.
The event expanded from a five-kilometer race a year ago, to include a 5-K, 10-K and half-marathon, as each race ended with a trip around the bases.
All money raised from the event goes to the Gladstone High School baseball program, which is completely self funded.
Jon Young | Daily Press
Mark Kennedy of Gladstone celebrates as he finishes the half-marathon on Saturday at Don Olson Field in Gladstone.
"I was really glad that we had a great day for the event," said race director Steve O'Driscoll. "The weather was perfect. We had a great amount of volunteers from our baseball booster group; all the families of the players and just the people who care about putting baseball on the field here at Gladstone."
O'Driscoll noted the need for more long distance events in Delta County and said he was happy with the turnout for the half-marathon, which drew 16 participants.
"We run this event as a real low pressure thing, more of a fun run and not as highly competitive as other events," O'Driscoll said. "We're really happy about having people feel comfortable running their first half marathon in our event. We try to support it with a lot of good water stations and a fairly flat course."
One of those first half-marathon runners across was Escanaba resident Danielle Artley, who was the top female finisher in the half marathon, crossing the plate in two hours, one minute and 15 seconds.
"I want to thank my family," Artley said. They met me at every single mile mark. They were the ones who pushed me the whole time. I got my goal time and I couldn't be happier. So I'm definitely going to do this again next year."
Deb Parrett of Gladstone took second (2:03.7) and Mindy Williams of Escanaba captured third place with a time of 2:06.8.
In the male division it was Nick Roberts of Marquette taking first in the half-marathon, finishing in 1:44.11.
"There's not as many hills as I expected, so that was nice, and it was a relatively fast course," Roberts said. "It got pretty tough after about 11 miles because my legs started to tighten up and I felt a little dehydrated so I just had to push past that."
Roberts, who ran a half-marathon in Marquette the week before is training for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year.
Mark Kennedy of Gladstone finished second in the male division (1:59.15) and David Hunter of Cedar River took third (2:09.06).
"We only had 16 runners in the half-marathon but that's right around what we expected," O'Driscoll said. "We need to start small. You don't get to be a big event right out of the gate, it doesn't happen. We're looking forward to next year already. We're already chatting about what we're going to do different, what really worked this year, and we're already planning."
In the 10-K male division, Wes Papcink took first with a time of 47:04, followed by Rich Adprich in second (47:14) and Steve Tackman in third at 53:00.
In the 10-K female division, it was Rachel Urban taking first in 47:09. Lynn Trudeau captured second place in 53:29, with Erin Mattonen taking third in 53:36.
In the 5-K male division, Chris Amis cruised to a first place finish (24:33) followed by Louis Berube (26:49) and Steve O'Driscoll (30:37).
In the 5-K female division, Kate Bosk of Gladstone took first (31:24) with Kris Ambeau claiming second (33:41) and Sharon Hughes (33:42) snagging third.
The race is one of three events that the Gladstone High School Baseball Boosters put on to raise money. The team has a pasty sale in October and a meet the team breakfast in the spring.