By Meagan McGone
INDIALANTIC - Whether you run, walk or "krawl" your way to the finish line, every step you take in the 2012 5K Turtle Krawl Run/Walk will benefit one of the Space Coast's most beloved visitors: the sea turtles.
Set for 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 15, this year's race begins and ends at Nance Park in Indialantic. Proceeds from the Turtle Krawl will benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, an Indialantic-based nonprofit that aims to educate the public about marine turtles so the animals have a better chance at survival.
Mark Petrillo, a member of the Sea Turtle Preservation Society's Board of Directors, said the event has been an extremely successful fundraiser for the organization in recent years.
"My wife, Lisa, is a serious runner here in Brevard County, so I was very familiar with all the local races and what makes them successful," he said. "I figured with Lisa and her friends' guidance, I could figure out exactly what runners like and dislike about the local races, and, from that, hopefully create the most popular race in Brevard County. I knew it was a risk doing things the right way, and I even told the Sea Turtle Preservation Society Board of Directors I thought we could potentially lose money on the first year of the new and improved race, but I promised them that it would be so well received, it would be profitable the next year and for years to come.
Mr. Petrillo said he was pleasantly surprised when the organization netted more than $8,000 for the organization in 2010.
In 2011, that number rose to $20,000, and organizers hope this year it will be even higher.
Funds raised from last year's Turtle Krawl have been earmarked to build a sea turtle rehabilitation facility in Brevard, Mr. Petrillo said.
Details of that project, however, are not yet available, as it is still in early stages, he said.
For this year's event, participants of all skill levels and ages are encouraged to join in on the fun.
"The Turtle Krawl is an event for everyone," Mr. Petrillo said. "Competitive runners should come out because it is a top-notch race with marathon-quality amenities, from top-of-the-line technical shirts to beautiful custom medals for nearly 120 award winners. Casual runners and walkers should come out to support the mission of the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, which is helping sea turtles survive."
For more information about Turtle Krawl, to fill out a registration form or to view the race course, visit www.turtlekrawl.com, or "like" the event's Facebook page by going to www.facebook.com/turtlekrawl