TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — When the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic races return to Bayshore Boulevard in February, a new parrot mascot will be there to cheer the runners on. The race held a contest to find the best name for the parrot. The person submitting the winning name will get to race for free for 25 years.
The parrot’s name will be PEPPER JACK!
“It’s spicy and fun, and we can just hear people calling out Pepper Jack on the course,” said Susan Harmeling, Executive Director of the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic.
That name was picked from 2,900 submissions. Deborah Coleman from just outside of Gainesville, FL came up with the name and will now join the race each year.
The second place name was Miles, and third place went to Pacer.
The Gasparilla Distance Classic and Publix Supermarkets, the title race sponsor, held committee meetings to whittle down the names, and Pepper Jack came out on top.
The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic will be held on Feb. 26 and 27. There will be COVID protocols and the races will be capped at a lower number than normal.
This year, 4,000 people will be able to run in each of the four races that weekend. Racers must either be vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.