A wonderful changing of the guard occurs along the shores of Siesta Key Beach every day. There’s nothing particularly British about it, and the fanfare does not lie before some great palace. Well, that last part is not entirely true. The palace we curtsy and bow for is a picturesque line of aqua blue water that hugs a sandy white beach so bright it makes the completely cloudless, blue sky above glow with a relentless brilliance.
Our changing of the guard occurs daily just about dinner time, and a couple of hours ahead of sunset. As the sun-kissed beach visitors leave for the day, with sand in all the wrong places and a general look of contentment, another group of fresh-faced warriors roll in to take the helm and see the beach through the sunset hours. This group makes the trek to Siesta Key Beach to not only get a bird’s eye view of these million dollar sunsets, but also to partake in an evening’s run sponsored by the Manasota Track Club.
As I write this I am perched peaceful between the yellow and red lifeguard stands on Siesta Key on a Tuesday night. I would not normally be smack dab in paradise on a Tuesday but, thankfully, teenagers who don’t drive yet need their mothers to facilitate beach meetups with friends. Watching families with toddlers in tow fiddling with their sandals pass guys in loafers biking over from their seaside apartments is such a great juxtaposition of life in Sarasota. Add in the seniors with their well-packed coolers containing Triscuits and cheese tucked snugly next to the vino, along with all of those stylish teenagers, and it’s a photoshoot. Sarasota is just so pretty. If you live here and are not at the beach on every single night of the week then you are wasting a great commodity. I know, I know, you have to work and raise your kids and all of that. But, Siesta Key Beach would be a magnet to me if I lived nearby and I might develop a problem with playing hooky.
Every Tuesday evening through the end of July, the Manasota Track Club gathers with members and non-members alike to enjoy comradery and runs along the world famous Siesta Key Beach. Completely free, a kid’s fun run (one mile) begins at 6:30 P.M., followed by a longer run for the adults beginning at 7:00 P.M. On the night I attended, the run was a four-mile jaunt with joggers moving at individualized paces. Everyone gathers at the yellow lifeguard stand, in front of the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion and there are friendly volunteers manning the registration table if you have questions. On the particular night that I went there were easily 100 or more people milling around, either waiting on their children to complete the first heat, or adult runners getting ready for their turn. From young teenagers to older seniors and what appeared to be a mixed group of abilities, everyone was prepped to have a good time. Most runs have themes or special food afterwards and my kids were happy to be greeted with ice cold water, popsicles, and tacos. A free run and tacos? The only thing better than that might be to claim a square on the sand to watch that majestic Florida sun take the shades down in a blaze of color, which is exactly what I did. Tuesdays at Siesta Key Beach Pavilion are not too busy, considering the number of runners who come out. No, just a slow trickle of those ready to praise the end of another glorious day in paradise on a normal Tuesday. For me, these people have their priorities in line.
For more information on the Siesta Key Beach Runs and other events offered through Manasota Track Club, please visit their FB page here.
Photos courtesy of Manasota Track Club FB