ADVENTURE STARTS HERE: Whether you weren't able to register in time or are just looking to relive the magic of the M22 Challenge course - we've got you covered. Experience the venue of one of the most beautiful races in the entire country. This run/bike/paddle course takes you up the Sleeping Bear Dunes, around the picturesque Glen Lakes, and out into the crystal clear waters of Little Glen Lake. Athletes from across the nation make the journey to compete in the M22 Challenge, now it's your turn to get a glimpse of what draws them back each year. This will surely be one of your new favorite courses, whether you're a professional athlete or a weekend warrior.
WHAT TO BRING: Running shoes, road bike, kayak or SUP, and determination. If you don't own a kayak for the water portion, they can be rented for the day from Crystal River Outfitters. Bring along your favorite training partner to share part of the magical experiece that is the M22 Challenge course.
OPTIONAL SIDE TREK: One of our favorite camping spots, D.H. Day Campground, is just around the corner. This campground is one of the best places in the area to unwind after a good day's excercise. Head down to the beach to catch the sunset, and finish off the night with a bonfire back at your site. Campsites are available only on a first-come-first-served basis, so make sure you arrive early enough to secure a spot.
COURSE INFO: The race starts off with a 2.5 mile run that includes a greuling climb up the Dune Climb. Don't worry, the view from the top makes it (almost) worth it. Next, athletes would hop on their bikes for the 17 mile road course that takes them around both Glen Lakes and up Inspiration Point - the 446ft climb with a lookout towards the right that will make it all better. After the descent, it's a quick 4 miles back to the transition area where athletes rack their bikes and enter the water with their kayak or SUP. The 2.5 mile paddle course challenges athletes' stamina and will power, but the cool water serves as a nice refresher until athletes ditch their boats and cross the finish at the end of the paddle. For detailed course maps, see the images below.
NEXT STEPS: If you get racing fever after competing this course, consider registering for next year's M22 Challenge; you won't regret it. The race sells out very quickly each year, so be ready to go on registration day if you are interested in competing. Visit M22challenge.com for dates, registration information, or even to volunteer at the next M22 Challenge.