Nationally Recognized 9th Annual M22 Challenge Showcases Need to Protect Public’s Water

The ninth annual M22 Challenge this year recognizes the significance of the waters surrounding the Challenge course through the title sponsorship of Traverse City-based FLOW (For Love of Water).

The Challenge, which takes place June 10 beginning at 8 a.m., capitalizes on the majestic landscape and waterscape of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It is considered “the most beautiful race in America” because of its site.

The race is also unique in that it incorporates the famous Dune Climb as part of its 22-mile run, bike, paddle competition.

Athletes come from all across the U.S. to compete, spanning the range from amateurs to Olympians. This year:

  • USA Olympic paddler Jeff Smoke will defend his M22 Challenge title.
  • M22 athlete Jorden Wakeley is expected to give Smoke a serious challenge.
  • Winners of past women’s competitions Jamie Endicott and Keri Pawielski will compete.

[10 Things to Do After Crossing the M22 Challenge Finish Line]

M22 Challenge

The race is so popular that the 900 slots for competitors this year were taken within 3 minutes, a new record.

“From the majesty of Sleeping Bear Dunes racers and spectators can see a panorama of the precious fresh waters that define this part of the planet,” says Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW.  “It’s the perfect setting for a nationally recognized race. We’re proud to team with M22.”

Founded in 2011, FLOW, a nonprofit organization, works to protect the Great Lakes through the use of public trust principles and an underpinning of strong science and technical analysis. Dating back to the Roman Empire, the public trust is a doctrine of common law holding that certain natural resources, including waters like the Great Lakes and their lakebeds, belong to the public and that government has an affirmative duty to protect them.

Holding approximately 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater, the Great Lakes have over 10,000 miles of shoreline in the U.S. and Canada, border 8 states and Ontario, and provide drinking water for 40 million people. They are at risk from invasive species like Asian carp, chemical contaminants, habitat loss, algal blooms, oil and gas pipelines and private water extraction.

“The M22 Challenge partnership with FLOW is a natural fit. We share the vision of protecting the Great Lakes region for future generations while also encouraging the appreciation of outdoor activities,” says Matt Myers.

M22 believes caring for the planet should not be in conflict with making a profit. Because we all benefit from a healthy environment, sustainability makes economic sense and should be at the forefront of every business, big or small.

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—Press release provided by M22 and FLOW

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