Mascot race ‘warms up’ community for Mote’s Run for the Turtles

On March 6, a bull, cat, cow, pirate, sea turtle, shark and shoe — all costumed mascots —raced on Siesta Key to raise awareness for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Run for the Turtles. This year was not a close race due to the University of South Florida's Rocky D. Bull, taking the race by the horns and winning by several strides.
Mote’s 32nd Annual Run for the Turtles, a 5K/1-mile race scheduled April 7 on Siesta Key, is Mote’s longest-standing fundraiser; it raises support for Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program, which coordinates conservation of endangered sea turtles along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.

Details and registration link for the April 7 Run:

The mascots’ promotional race started at 9:30 a.m. March 6 on a short stretch of beach marked off by Mote just west of the Siesta Beach concession areas and drew a crowd of locals and tourists alike.

Participating mascots:

  • Cat Depot: Petunia the Rescue Cat
  • Chick-Fil-A: Chick-Fil-A Cow
  • Bradenton Marauders: Marty the Marauder
  • New Balance: New Balance Newbie
  • University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee: Rocky D. Bull
  • Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: Gilly the Shark AND Shelley the Sea Turtle

About Mote’s 32nd Annual Run for the Turtles:
Run for the Turtles will take place April 7 on beautiful Siesta Key Beach. The 1-Mile Fun Run or Walk begins at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K Manasota Track Club-Sanctioned Run begins at 8 a.m. People of all ages can register now.

Details and registration link:

For more information on the Run, contact Sam Byrd, Race Director at: 941-388-4441 ext. 426 or
For information on event sponsorship please contact Kate Knepper at: 941-388-4441, ext. 393 or

Young people can support Mote around and during Run for the Turtles:

To amplify the Run’s support for marine science and conservation, Mote has joined forces with Positive Tracks, who has announced that: This year, youths age 23 and younger can sweat for good on behalf of Mote. Sweat for good? Run, dance, play soccer, shoot hoops or take other steps to raise awareness and support for Mote. If youths can dream it, Positive Tracks can help them make it happen, with free hands-on help and matching dollars. How does it work? Whether youths want to join an existing athletic event (like Mote's Run for the Turtles) or create their own (like a tennis clinic at your club), they can apply to Positive Tracks for FREE counsel on fitness, leadership, team building, community engagement, cause advocacy, event planning and promotion. If fundraising is a goal, Positive Tracks can provide an online fundraising page and guidance. They even match the first $1,000 raised! Want in? Apply here or contact Liz at, 603-443-6560. 

Mote thanks Run partners New Balance University and Fleet Feet Sports for hosting Run packet pick-ups. Check in with them for the latest running gear and fitness news to prepare to hit the beach on April 7.