Going the Extra Mile for Manatees

During Tampa’s Gasparilla, a day where pirates and a parade usually steal the spotlight, a different kind of event took center stage – Tampa Electric's Third Annual Run for the Manatees. This year marked a record-breaking turnout, with more than 400 participants lacing up their running shoes to support our company's conservation efforts. 

The success of the family-friendly event was not just measured by the numbers but also by the heartwarming dedication of more than 40 volunteers who played a crucial role in ensuring its smooth execution. Their efforts were instrumental in making this 5K a triumph, all in the name of helping the gentle giants of Florida's waters.

Photo of pack approaching the manatee viewing center.

Runners of all ages earned a beautiful finisher medal after crossing the finish line.

Stan Kroh, Mollie the Manatee and division winner at awards ceremony.

First place finishers in various age groups received special prizes
from Stan Kroh, Senior Manager of Land & Stewardship Programs.

"Our 5K Run for the Manatees was another outstanding success all due to the wonderful volunteers that come out early on a Saturday morning to help. The runners love our unique course with the variety of terrain that is offered, and getting to enjoy our beautiful trails on a perfect winter morning just adds to the experience," said Stan Kroh, Senior Manager of Land and Stewardship Programs. "We had two team members from Environmental Services place first in their age category: Natalie Tafuni and Nate Alcoz. We are proud that the proceeds from the race go to the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida to support their mission that includes manatee education, research and rehabilitation."

Photo of happy woman finishing the race.

After crossing the finish line, participants were treated with a stunning finisher medal along with post-race Chick-fil-A® breakfast and an opportunity to learn all about the world of the incredible marine mammals. "After the race, the runners were granted early access to our award-winning Manatee Viewing Center (MVC), which recently set an amazing new record hosting 1,100 manatees at one time, dwarfing the previous record of 850 set last winter," said Stan.

Photo of Kristin Mora and family.

Corporate Counsel Kristin Mora and family were one of several families kicking off
their weekend with a family-friendly 5K.

In addition to seeing first-hand why the MVC was voted the #2 best free attraction in the U.S., participants also got to explore the Tom Hernandez Clean Energy Center and the Florida Conservation & Technology Center (FCTC). The 500-acre campus is a showcase for stewardship, research, habitat restoration, help for endangered species and education. It includes the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Suncoast Youth Conservation Center and Marine Fish Enhancement Center as well as the Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Facility and world-class Coral Conservation Center. Even if you couldn’t make the run, you can still come visit the MVC and FCTC until April 15. 

Thank you to all our team members, volunteers and participants. We appreciate your hard work to benefit the beloved manatees while contributing to our company’s conservation and volunteerism efforts. Check out all the 5K pictures on the MVC's Facebook page.

A huge thank you to nearly 40 volunteers who came before sunrise to help pull off a successful event.

Photo of runners cross the finish line.

Photo of Mollie the Manatee.

More than 400 participants registered for Tampa Electric's Third Annual
Run for the Manatees on Saturday, Jan. 2