Save Manatees From Anywhere

Register for the Virtual Save the Manatee 5K

For further information contact:
Ally Greco
Communications and Outreach Manager
Phone: (407) 539-0990

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2020

Note: Photos of manatees, race contestants, or the Virtual Save the Manatee 5K race packet contents are available upon request.

Fiona from London wears her Manatee 5K t-shirt and medal.
Fiona wears her Manatee 5K t-shirt, medal, and race bib after completing last year’s in London, England.

Registration is now open for the annual Virtual Save the Manatee 5K. Participants can run, walk, cycle, swim, kayak or rollerblade on a favorite course or trail near home – all in support of manatees. The event can be completed anytime, anywhere, by racers of any age. All finishers will receive a manatee t-shirt, finisher’s medal, and race bib in the mail. Proceeds from the race are donated to Save the Manatee Club to support manatee conservation efforts.

The Save the Manatee 5K in-person race normally takes place each May in Harrison Township, Michigan. This year, as with all large gatherings, the race has been postponed to September 27th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Michigan is miles away from manatee habitat, thousands of racers have shown up over the last 16 years to run for the manatees. The event’s fundraising efforts have contributed to a variety of education and conservation projects produced by Save the Manatee Club, furthering their mission to protect imperiled manatees.

Save the Manatee 5K shirt and medal
The 2020 Manatee 5K t-shirt, medal, and race bib.

The Save the Manatee 5K was started by Lesley Argiri and her husband Brian McDonald, who are both teachers at L’Anse Creuse public schools in Harrison Township, Michigan. Their efforts have raised more than $243,000 to help manatees. This year, Race Director Argiri has shifted her focus from the Michigan event to the worldwide virtual event. While the virtual event has been successful in the past, uniting racers from all 50 U.S. states and over 16 countries, it is even more pertinent this year as the world stays home and participates in events virtually. “Our main goal is to keep everyone safe,” she explained. With her usual team of student volunteers staying home, Lesley and Brian are the ones mailing out the hundreds of race packets. “We hope the race can bring smiles to faces in this crisis and give families something to do to get outside.”

Racers can register online through September 27th and share their finisher’s photos with the t-shirt, race medal, and race bib on the Save the Manatee 5K Facebook page. “It’s great to see a global passion for helping our precious wildlife,” Lesley said. Register to run for the manatees today at


Save the Manatee Club was founded in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham to protect manatees and their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, go to or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

In 2018, Jillian ran the Manatee 5K in Newfoundland in Canada.
In 2018, Jillian ran the Manatee 5K in Newfoundland in Canada.