More than 1,000 runners and walkers hit the beach to help endangered and threatened sea turtles during 26th Run for the Turtles today on Siesta Key Public Beach.
The run, which includes a 5K sanctioned by the Manasota Track club and a 1-mile fun-run/walk, has provided major support for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program — an internationally recognized program that will soon begin its 31st year coordinating sea turtle conservation along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.
The race results are:
- Overall female winner: Julie Williams, 18:01
- Overall male winner: Kevin Smith, 16:21
1-Mile Fun Run/Walk winners (exact times not recorded):
- Male winner: Dylan Hull
- Female winner: Emily Mohr
Mote scientists and more than 300 volunteers in Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol monitor sea turtle nesting each day during nesting season, May through October.
The run, a joint effort between Mote, the Manasota Track Club and Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, raises money to help Mote scientists study and protect sea turtles, which are considered threatened or endangered under federal law.
At the event, participants and scores of friends and supporters brightened up before sunrise, starting with a warm-up workout with Mote mascots Shelley the Sea Turtle and Gilly the Shark followed by a one-mile fun run/walk and a 5K run sanctioned by the Manasota Track Club.
Runners younger than age 9 and older than 80 hit the beach, competing for overall fastest times for males and females in each race, and for the fastest times within each age group for the 5K.
“We are grateful to each and every person who participated in and supported our 26th run – this kind of dedication through the years has really helped us go the distance in our mission to understand and conserve sea turtles,” said Dr. Tony Tucker, Manager of Mote’s Sea Turtle Program.
Learn more about Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, and support these efforts with a donation, at www.mote.org/seaturtles.