The club adopted a stretch of the road leading into Longboat Key.

by: Nat Kaemmerer Staff Writer (

The Manasota Track Club got acquainted with their newly adopted span of Gulf of Mexico Drive when club members gathered for a cleanup on Saturday, Feb. 6. 

As board member Rob Loeffler ran back and forth over the New Pass Bridge throughout the beginning of quarantine, the amount of trash he saw inspired  him to do something. Then he noticed the stretch of road from near Ken Thompson Parkway to the Chart House was available for adoption and figured it would be good exposure for the club. 

“The entire Manasota Track Club was behind me,” Loeffler said of the organization’s commitment to quarterly cleanups. On Saturday, about 30 club members ducked into the foliage, scrambled down the bridge approach slopes and crouched to pick up trash. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium scientist Kim Hull tracked what the club picked up. 

“This is the first time we’ve done anything, in about five years, that’s not running,” club president Felicia Cox said. “It’s making my heart so full.” 

Loeffler offered a $25 Amazon gift card for the strangest item. Contenders included a bike rack, a windshield wiper, a set of printed driving directions, gummy bears and dental floss.