Mascots of all sizes, shapes and species raced down Siesta Beach on March 15 to promote Mote Marine Laboratory’s 37th Annual Run for the Turtles.

Floody, mascot for Sarasota County, outran seven other mascots: Cali and Petunia from Cat Depot; Chick-fil-A Cow and Kid Cow from Chick-fil-A; Rocky D. Bull from USF Sarasota-Manatee; and Mote’s own Gilly the shark and Shelley the sea turtle.

Gilly took a bit of a tumble tripping on his own feet and Shelley ran the race at a turtle’s steady pace and shook hands with fellow mascots who raised awareness for her species. Mote’s 37th Annual Run for the Turtles, a 5K/1-mile fundraiser on April 1 at Siesta Public Beach, raises funds for Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program. Mote coordinates conservation of endangered sea turtles along 35 miles of Sarasota County beaches.

“Run for the Turtles is the longest-standing fundraiser for Mote; we have been monitoring and protecting endangered sea turtles along local beaches for 41 years, and the Run raises thousands of dollars each year for this important service,” said Dr. Jake Lasala, Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program Manager. “It’s wonderful that so many local organizations helped us spread the word through this mascot race. They made us laugh while doing some serious good.”

  • Learn about the next upcoming Run for the Turtles and register to participate at:

To make a gift supporting Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, visit