A new course, and a new cause, await local runners and walkers this weekend when the Hatchling Hustle makes its debut in Galveston. The 5K run and 1-mile fun run/walk will be entirely on the sand at the scenic Babe’s Beach.
“The race starts west of the 61st Street Fishing Pier and goes just past the next fishing pier, where Jimmy’s on the Pier is, and then turns around and heads back,” Joanie Steinhaus, Gulf program director for Turtle Island Restoration Network, said.
The Hatchling Hustle benefits the Turtle Island Restoration Network and its local programs with sea turtles.
“We sponsor the Sea Turtle Hotline for the entire Texas coast,” Steinhaus said.
The hotline enables anyone who sees a stranded or nesting turtle to report it so that appropriate action can be taken. The time and place for the Hatchling Hustle both tie into Turtle Island Restoration Network’s mission.
“We want to raise awareness about the upcoming sea turtle nesting season, which runs April through July, all along Texas beaches,” Steinhaus said. “Nesting season just started, with the first nest reported on South Padre Island this week. Babe’s Beach is a known nesting location; a nest was found there last year.”
A booth at the race site will have information on the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the state turtle of Texas, and details on what to do if one is spotted on a local beach. The race begins at 7:45 a.m.
“Fitness on the Go will begin a warm-up at 7:35, and then the 5K starts at 7:45, followed by the mile run/walk at 7:55,” Steinhaus said. “Seawall parking is free until 10, so everyone will have plenty of time to enjoy the morning while parked along the Seawall.”
While the Hatchling Hustle is a new event, the phenomenon of turtles nesting on Galveston beaches is not.
“There’s an article in the Galveston News from 1880 about sea turtles coming up out of the Gulf to lay eggs near 45th Street,” Steinhaus said.
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