Since 2003, Jekyll Island has hosted the Turtle Crawl, a set of races benefiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC). Jekyll Island’s picturesque oceanfront and maritime forest are settings for two triathlons – the International Distance Triathlon and the Sprint Distance Triathlon, both sanctioned by USA Triathlon. New for 2016, a 10K race has been added to accompany the 5K run, providing race fun for the whole family.
These races do more than get your blood pumping; they also benefit the Island’s renowned GSTC. GSTC is operated by the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) as a conservation program dedicated to increasing awareness through education, rehabilitation, and research programs. The Center is a working wildlife hospital that is open to the public, offering an interactive exhibit gallery and rehabilitation pavilion where guests can observe and learn about sea turtle and other wildlife patients.
Since opening its doors just nine years ago, GSTC has healed and released more than 1,650 animals. The JIA, along with generous supporters through the Jekyll Island Foundation, enable the GSTC to operate its life-saving facility, the only one of its kind in the state of Georgia. Funds raised from athletes participating in Turtle Crawl help fund the rehabilitation costs for the Center’s patients and educational programming.
Between the triathlon and 5K & 10K races, the new Beach Village will play host to Turtle Crawl Festival. Join GSTC for a celebration of the start of the sea turtle nesting season. Play in field day-style games hosted by the Center, dance with the GSTC mascot Scute during one of several live music performances on the Village Green, and grab a bite from a regional food truck. Enjoy the evening’s festivities while learning about what small changes you can do to make a huge difference in the life of a sea turtle.
From elite, world-class athletes to running novices, the Turtle Crawl races offer something for every athlete at every skill level. With four races to choose from combined with Turtle Crawl Festival and a unique island getaway, Turtle Crawl Weekend on Jekyll is not to be missed “racecation” for all families.