By Meghan McCaffrey Contributing Writer
---- — The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Clark Sports Center teamed up for the second annual BASE Race on Sunday. Nearly 300 running enthusiasts participated in either the family 5k or the more competitive 10k on courses that started at the Clark Sports Center, looped around the village of Cooperstown and returned to the Sports Center.
Baseball themed prizes were awarded to the leaders in each age range including bats from the Cooperstown Bat Company, pictures and other baseball memorabilia. Jim Allott of Potsdam won the 5k for the second straight year with a time of 19:58. His wife, Katherine Allott, ran the 10k in 55:49. In the 10k, Jordan Sirtoli won the overall title in 37:17, while Glynis Gozigian took the women’s title in 42:44.
The Be A Superior Example program was founded last year in conjunction with an exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame to support healthy lifestyles. It is also an initiative to educate middle and high school students about the perils of taking steroids, said Brad Horn, the senior director of communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“This race is a great opportunity for families to support our mission, to compete in athletic competitions, steroid free,” Horn said in an interview on Friday.
The BASE exhibit includes a healthy living unit with four bases like a baseball diamond. First base is for fitness, second base is for nutrition, third base symbolizes character and home plate symbolizes fair play. The students have to touch each base and then make a commitment to live and play steroid free, Horn said.
“So many times in our society there is a shortcut to get somewhere,” Horn said. “But there are no short cuts in baseball or in the game of life.”
Horn said 60 percent of the participants were from outside Otsego County. Many of the participants are part of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s membership program and received mailings about the race.
Some came to do the race to set a good example for their family.
The Janning family came to Cooperstown from Chicago just to do the race.
“We don’t come to Cooperstown very often, but we came out for this,” Carl Janning said.
“We do family races,” Karen Janning said. “We set good examples by doing sports, talking about nutrition, eating right and trying to find others who are good role models.”
The Babowski’s of Johnstown had their whole family participate. Trisha, Garreth and their 8-year-old son Garrett ran the race and Colton, their 4-year-old, rode in a stroller. Garrett won a prize for his age group and was very excited to be honored at the race.
“I think it’s important to be a good example for your kids,” Trisha Babowski said. “With everything that’s going on with steroids, it’s good to show that you can do this without performance enhancers.”
Garreth Babowski said they did this race last year and it’s special because it’s the only one they do as a family.
Others do the race for the baseball environment.
“I definitely love races that have to do with baseball,” said Nathan Tweedie of Walton. “I love baseball, so anytime I can mix that with running is a great thing.”
“I did the race last year and it was a lot of fun,” Tweedie continued.
For more information about the program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame visit their website at www.baseballhall.org/BASE.