SIESTA KEY, Fla. -- Nearly 1,000 runners and walkers hit the beach to help endangered and threatened sea turtles during Mote’s 27th Run for the Turtles today, April 6, on Siesta 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 32nd year coordinating sea turtle conservation along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches. Mote scientists and 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 funds 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 Siesta Public Beach before sunrise, starting with a warm-up workout with Mote mascot Shelley the Sea Turtle 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.
To kick off the awards ceremony, Mote President and CEO Dr. Kumar Mahadevan addressed event guests.
“This run has been an amazing success over the years, and we couldn’t have done this without our exceptional team of staff, volunteers, sponsors and of course, our outstanding runners who turn out each year to support sea turtles,” said Mahadevan, who will become Mote’s President Emeritus in May after leading the Lab for 27 years — the same timespan the Run has taken place. “It’s been a pleasure to lead Mote and to be part of this Run, which supports our internationally renowned Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.”
Support the efforts of Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program with a donation at www.mote.org/seaturtleresearchdonation.
Mote thanks the sponsors who made this event possible, including: ABC 7, Bright House Networks, Mote Scientific Foundation, United Natural Foods, Inc., Zephyrhills and New Balance.