Women’s winner, Keri Pawielski, maintains first place for the fifth year in a row.
GLEN ARBOR, MI 6/8/2013: “This year, I focused on being faster on the bike and it paid off,” replied a smiling Jeff Smoke when asked what he did differently to win this year. Smoke, 35 of Buchanan, MI, is not a newcomer to the M-22 Challenge, the podium, or the sport. Smoke kayaked on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team as well as took first place in the 2011 M-22 Challenge. At today’s event, Smoke broke the course record with a time of 1:11:23.
Denny Paull, 49 of Cheboygan, MI, and 2012 M-22 Challenge winner, came in just 3 minutes behind Smoke with a time of 1:14:32. “I had a good race but Jeff [Smoke] really rocked it on the bike.”
Not far behind, Craig Webb, 52 of Traverse City, MI, came in third with a time of 1:15:30. Webb was the fastest participant back to the transition area after the bike but was passed by Smoke and Paul on the water. “The paddle is everything,” Webb said.
Keri Pawielski, 36 of St. Joseph, MI, is very familiar with the podium and a fan favorite. Pawielski earned the trophy for the fastest women to the top of the dune as well as the overall women’s trophy for the 5th consecutive year.
With 900 registered participants this year from across the U.S., event coordinators strived to make the event as professional, organized, and as enjoyable as possible while welcoming participants ranging from beginner to elite.
“The M-22 brand appeals to so many different people and has a special meaning to each person. Our event [The M-22 Challenge] mirrors this: It is an event for every ability and means something personal to every individual,” Remarks Matt Myers, Jr., M-22 co-founder.
Maggie Milliken, 20, originally of Traverse City, MI, competed for her second year with her brother, Jack, and sister, Kelly. “I’m in college but I come back to do this event. I love how you get to do a little bit of everything. It’s fun, it’s a home feeling for me,” She says after her finish.
The M-22 Challenge covers 22 miles of northern Michigan positioning athletes to start on foot racng up the Sleeping Bear National Park Dune Climb. The next leg is by bike around Big and Little Glen Lake, including Inspiration Point, followed by a final leg on kayaks or on stand up paddleboards through Little Glen Lake.
Myers said he was most excited “to see all of the people coming through the finish line so genuinely happy.
Second time presenting sponsor, Oneupweb representative, Raquel Smith, “knew after last year’s event that they would sponsor again after experiencing the energy and enthusiasm everyone brought it to it, it’s very inspiring. We even had five employees participate in the race this year!”
When asked if he will return next year, Smoke was quick to reply, “Of course. I love coming here every year for the scenery and the competition.” Denny Paul will be back also, “oh yea, absolutely – this is the best event I’ve ever seen with the most beautiful environment. I don’t know how I couldn’t come back.”
Media Contact: Stephanie Myers, Stephanie.Z.Myers@gmail.com
About M-22 and The M-22 Challenge: Founded by kiteboarders in search of epic wind and waves, M-22 was created to express the common passion for Northern Michigan. M-22 is not just a road; it’s a way of life. Its bays, beaches and bonfires, dunes and vineyards, cottages, friends and family. It is the feeling you get when you realize there is no other place you would rather be. The M-22 Challenge is a multi-discipline event based in beautiful Leelanau County in Northern Michigan designed to challenge athletes against the natural terrain and environmental elements of the area. HYPERLINK “http://www.m22online.com” www.m22online.com & HYPERLINK “http://www.m22challenge.com” www.m22challenge.com
About Oneupweb: Oneupweb has been an innovator in digital marketing for more than 16 years, creating integrated online marketing strategies that incorporate search marketing (SEO and PPC), social media, web design, and mobile services. Heralded by an independent research firm for their leadership team, work ethic and solid experience in optimizing complicated sites, Oneupweb has been named a Top 25 Search Marketing Agency by Advertising Age for five consecutive years, and CEO Lisa Wehr is recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.