On your marks, get set, crawl!

One of the competitors in Saturday's baby crawl at the Gateway Mall. Instead of finishing the race, this fellow later decided to have a sit. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Cruz Draude is a “mommy’s baby.”

“He’s really stuck to his mom,” said his mother, Jacqueline Draude. “If he sees me and he’s not with me… he’s hollering.”

On Saturday, Cruz’s love for his mom won him first place in the Gateway Mall’s baby crawl race, where the almost-one-year-old beat out 33 other babies to take home a new stroller.

Just after noon, the first heat took their places at the starting line. Parents held their babies at the ready. At the signal, they were off – sort of. Mostly they stood still, sat down or fell over, not quite sure why hundreds of people were cheering them on.

With little warning, one would race down the aisle – in a more or less straight trajectory – toward the waiting arms of a mother, usually their own.

Donna Hordyski, the mall’s marketing manager, said the competition was “a thrill.”

“My hearts just still going with the adrenaline, and how cute are the babies?” she said. “I mean they are the stars of the show.”

For more on this story, see the May 2 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.