By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- In 2009, Mark Petrillo was determined to bring something back from the past.
"There was no race in 2009, and that was when I was elected to the Sea Turtle Preservation Society Board of Directors," he said. "I noticed a '$0' next to the 'Turtle Krawl' line item on our financial reports and was told the race was a thing of the past."
At these meetings, Mr. Petrillo encouraged the board to bring back the race, offering in exchange to serve as the race director.
"My wife, Lisa, is a serious runner, so I know the local running community fairly well and thought we could make the Turtle Krawl into one of the area's best races," he said. "And we have. The first year, it was very good, but we have improved year after year, and, now, it is the largest 5K in the county."
Now, the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, which is a nonprofit organization designed to save and rehabilitate sea turtles within the Brevard County area, hopes to improve even further at this year's race, scheduled for Sept. 14 at Nance Park in Indialantic.
The 5K is for both runners and walkers and will begin at 7:30 a.m.
"This year's Turtle Krawl will be the largest 5K race ever held in Brevard County, and people should come out and be a part of it, whether they are serious runners, competitive walkers or just casual people, who'd like to go for a long walk near the beach on a Saturday morning," Mr. Petrillo said.
The first 2000 participants will receive T-shirts designed by local artist Mike "Nemo" Nemnich, as well as reusable cotton totes.
All participants will receive a free breakfast and massages after the race, free childcare by reservation, as well as raffle prizes, including three round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.
Mr. Petrillo said that 100 percent of the proceeds raised from the 5K benefit the organization, as well as a new turtle hospital being designed at the Brevard Zoo.
"The hospital will make a difference between life and death for many of the turtles the STPS rescues on Brevard County beaches," he said. "Currently, the closest facility is a 90-minute drive from here, and this often delays in turtles getting the treatment they need."
At last year's race, the event raised more than $30,000.
There will also be a free kids' run, where every participant will receive a prize.
Registration costs vary, depending on age of the participant and time of registration.
Registration forms can be found at TurtleKrawl.com.