In an effort to raise funds and re-introduce the community to its work, the North Coast Marine Mammal Center is holding its first-ever 5k fun run/walk Oct. 5.
"What you find out when you start talking to people is even though people are aware of the center, some of them don't know what it's about," said volunteer Stevin Strickland. "We wanted to do something that would get people active and give them something to do on a weekend that seemed like there wasn't a whole lot going on in the community."
Pre-registration for the "Run for the Seals 5k" started Aug. 1 and has continued through September. The run itself will be held at 9 a.m. on Oct. 5. Registration costs $15 until Sept. 28 and $20 after that date, according to a press release from the NMMC. Race-day registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and costs $20, according to the release.
The fun run's course will start at the NMMC on Howe Drive, continue down Beachfront Park and behind Ocean World before looping back around to Battery Point Lighthouse and winding up at the center again, Strickland said.
In addition to raising funds through registrations, Strickland said the center has been able to obtain sponsors from businesses and organizations such as Wild Rivers Market, Home Depot, the Chart Room, the Mail Room and the Lions Club. Those businesses and organizations will be advertised on the back of the fun run T-shirt, he said.
"The funding is something we left open-ended," Strickland said. "Our hearts were in it to get the seals more well known in the community."
There are some new faces at the NMMC, Strickland said. Volunteers rescued a 214-pound California sea lion found at Pebble Beach on Wednesday and named him Larry. He is currently being treated for an abscess on his front flipper, Strickland said.
Another sea lion was rescued from the Eureka area, Strickland said. Nicknamed Jaws because he bit a volunteer, the sea lion is currently being treated for a bacterial infection.
There are two northern fur seals, Bell and Oso, at the NMMC. Because Bell has is genetically predisposed to having only one layer of fur, she is unable to be released in the wild, Strickland said. Bell will be transferred to the New England Aquarium in Boston and Osso will be released back into the wild.
The fun run will be divided into age groups from age 10 to over 60. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three finishers in all categories. The fastest three finishers will receive a prize package from the NMMC Gift Shop and free entry into future events.
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