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DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to the M-22 Challenge Spotlight. I’m Damien Allen in the studio today with Matt Myers, Sr., and Matt Myers, Jr., from M-22. Good afternoon gentlemen, how are you doing?
MATT, SR.: Good afternoon. Real good thanks.
DAMIEN: So were here today because you guys are putting on the M-22 Challenge. What exactly is the M-22 Challenge? We’ll throw this at Matt, Jr.
MATT, JR.: The M-22 Challenge is a multi-discipline event; three different categories starting with a bike ride, transitioning into a run and finishing with a kayak all based out of Glen Arbor, Michigan, off M-22.
DAMIEN: And how did this event begin?
MATT, JR.: Well my brother, Keegan, and I have wanted to do an event for a while. Something that is open to a variety of people. Our background is kiteboarding so it’s pretty specific, but we want to do an event that more people could get involved in so we came up with something like a triathlon, something healthy, outdoors, fun, but we wanted to mix it up and make it a little unique. It’s a triathlon, but more fun I would say.
DAMIEN: So you have biking, a run, and then kayaking?
MATT, JR.: Yeah.
DAMIEN: How long is the course in total?
MATT, JR.: The bike portion is 17 miles and you circle both little and big Glen Lake. You’re going to go right through downtown Glen Arbor, and that will be what’s called a rolling enclosure so that the Leelanau County Sheriff’s department is going to lead the way so it will be pretty fun for the athletes, and then the running portion starts the Little Glen Park. You run across the street to the dune climb, you have a short 100 yard sprint up the dunes so you’re going to want to give it your best there, because we’re going to name the king and queen of the dune, back into the park, and then you’re going to grab your kayak, paddleboard, whatever you want to paddle out into the Little Glen Lake for a 1 mile loop and the finish line is in the water.
DAMIEN: How long does the course take?
MATT, JR.: Well that depends on what type of condition you’re in. We’re going to have people finishing it in probably under an hour and a half. Some people will take about twice that time, almost three hours.
DAMIEN: And are participants still able to sign up for this event? Is it still an open event, or do you have the course pretty much set for this year?
MATT, JR.: Nope, there are still some open spots. We have over 100 participants right now. So for our first year, we’re really excited about that number.
DAMIEN: How does one sign up to participate in this event?
MATT, JR.: Right. www.m22challenge.com. That is your go to resource for everything about the event and you can register right through that website.
DAMIEN: Now with the three disciplines with this particular event, how would you say one should train for this event in order to be ready for it?
MATT, JR.: We’re here to have fun. That’s the bottom line. Sure you’re going to win some cool prizes, and people are going to want to win for the bragging rights, but training you know, if you’re a runner, if you’ve ever done a 5k you should be alright with this. If you have some basic background with riding a road bike then you’re fine and the paddle portion is only a mile loop so it’s nothing to killer. Training wise just your basic stuff.
DAMIEN: What made you decide to do the M-22 Challenge?
MATT, JR.: Well like I said, my brother and I wanted to do an event something that brought the community together. That’s the one thing we’ve realized with our M-22 brand is how community focused it is and how it doesn’t matter who the person is or what their background is or what they’re into, everybody loves the M-22 thing, and they all identify with it differently. We wanted to do something that brought a broad spectrum of people together, and like I said, healthy, outdoors, and fun.
DAMIEN: Is this a non-profit event? Is there a fee to join it?
MATT, JR.: No it’s $75 per participant. This is definitely not out there to make money. We’re going set up spending money to host this event, but this is basically to cover our cost to make the event happen; however, we do donate 1% of our gross sales to the Leelanau Conservancy. So 1% of all entry fees will be donated.
DAMIEN: Who are some of the sponsors that are involved with this event?
MATT, JR.: There are so many people who have stepped up to help this year. It’s awesome knowing the people in our community…Michael Reese has helped out quite a bit with getting our timing system dialed in. We have Chris Branson from Bonek Agency, he helped cover our insurance. Brick Wheels, Britten Banners, Simon from Signplicity, and Matt Wiesen from Crystal River Outfitters he’s going to be managing the entire water portion of the event which is a pretty big undertaking, he’s helped out quite a bit; Jason Hamelin from Hamelin Photo. There’s countless. We have Chris from Pangea’s and his crew at Pangea’s Pizza downtown Traverse City. Sock’s Construction; Charlie and his brother of Sock’s Construction are definitely, definitely stepping it up and Sam Porter from Porterhouse Productions too. He’s been great. He’s going to have a good sound system out there for us. And of course Billy Sigmund with Pure Water Works who is always into these kinds of events, a lot of help.
DAMIEN: Now Matt Sr. you’re the event coordinator for this. How did you get involved in this and what brought you to the table for this?
MATT, SR.: It was a weak moment. Well I used to work with the original Father Fred for 10 years and we all know the Father Fred Foundation; great foundation, and that’s where I got the community spirit and I’m sure that’s where the boys got watching me when I was working with Father Fred, and I started the Frostbite Marathon which is going on to this day. I got the school system; I work with them in getting their work accredited for volunteering at the foundation. I worked with all of the volunteers at the Father Fred Foundation so I have a good background in that. So they figured I’d be a good pick to help them coordinate this event and that’s how I ended up here. I had no idea it was this much work as it is though, because these things are a lot of work.
DAMIEN: In deed. So what are we looking at the start of this event to fire up?
MATT, JR.: Well on June 20th, well let me step back. Actually the registration check-in is Thursday, June 18th, between 5 and 7 pm at our store in downtown TC, the M-22 Store. June 19th you come to check in between 5 and 9 pm at the event site out in Glen Arbor and then the event actually starts at 9 am on June 20th. We have staging between 7 and 8:30am, so that’s when all the athletes will show up and bring their bikes and their kayaks and we’ll get all our crew together, but 9 am is the starting.
MATT, SR.: And spectators it’s going to be great for spectators because when the bikers are all coming in to the event area, they’ll be people then going to do the run on the dune which you can from Little Glen Lake you can see the dune, the face of the dune, so you’ll actually be able to watch the runners on the dune and then you’ll see them coming in to get on their kayak or their stand up paddle board or whatever it is and watch the finish all at the same time. So they’re actually at one point at Little Glen Park you’ll be able to see all of the events culminate at once which I think will be really great.
DAMIEN: So that would be the best place if you were a spectator to hang out is Little Glen Park?
MATT, SR.: We’ll have a little spectator area there. There’s going to be food there, there’s going to be refreshments, absolutely.
DAMIEN: If I’m a participant, do I need to bring a pit crew, someone to make sure my bike is standing up for me or whatever?
MATT, JR.: No, we’ll have that covered.
DAMIEN: Ok. Now could you give the course description one more time? Where are we starting from and where are we going to finish up at?
MATT, JR.: Yep starting from Little Glen Lake picnic area, right on the North Shore of Little Glen Lake, across the street from the dune climb; starting with the biking portion. It’s all right hand turns from there on out, a 17 mile loop around both lakes right through downtown Glen Arbor, along M-22, back to the event site and then athletes will dump off their bike, put on their running shoes, head across the street, charge the dune climb which isn’t as bad as it sounds, and swing back around into the transition area, lose their shoes, grab their paddle craft, whatever they want to use, and go for the one mile loop out in Little Glen Lake and then back to the finish line in the water.
DAMIEN: Now this is the inaugural year so I’m assuming there is going to be an M-22 Challenge next year and the year after as well.
MATT, JR.: Yeah, that’s the idea. This is our first time doing an event like this so you have to start somewhere, and we have full intentions to keep it going if it goes good.
MATT, SR.: And the people that come to this area that don’t know it are going to be blown away. This bike ride around Little and Big Glen Lake is absolutely gorgeous. I mean you can see the lake the entire route, the woods are beautiful, and the whole area is just incredible.
DAMIEN: In Deed it is.
MATT, SR.: A lot of people don’t know about this area so it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes to the county.
DAMIEN: What was the benefit of using the Glen Lake area was that an area that you initially said this is where we have to do it?
MATT, JR.: For us it’s the heart. Glen Arbor is just the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula and it’s everything that we love about Northern Michigan.
MATT, SR.: And we’re using everything natural about the dune. That’s why we decided to use the dune in the run, because it is a dune climb and it’s very unique. You can only do it there.
DAMIEN: As you have 100 participants right now, and we still have a little bit of time before registration is over for this run, next year if we say we’ve grown to 400 or 500….
MATT, SR.: 1000
DAMIEN: You know, 1000 participants, 10,000 participants, like there is the Bay Area Marathon that’s gotten bigger as it’s gone through the years. Will the course change or are you going to keep it centered around the Glen Lakes?
MATT, JR.: Ideally Glen Lake that’s the heart, but there are so many different spots along M-22 we could do this event. We have full support of the National Park Shore so there’s options to move it, we just are going to nurture it and see how it goes, play it by ear.
DAMIEN: This being the first year, and the course being what it is, you’re going to have to have volunteers to help you our with all this. I’m sure it’s not the three of you standing at the start and finish line. Are there some people you would like to talk about that have been helping out with this?
MATT, JR.: That’s the main thing for me that’s blown me away is the amount of people that just want to be a part of this and help out. That’s where my dad’s come into play, because everybody knows my dad in Traverse City. They know he’s well connected and knows pretty much everybody, but he’s brought some key people in the helping out. Barb Weber, I went to elementary school with her, and she moved back for the summer and has been helping out with the sponsorships. Chad Jordan, another great guy from Old Mission who now lives in Suttons Bay. Greg Maki is helping with the bike course and Kegan Gill, he’s another Traverse City native who claims he’s going to win. He’s been training pretty hard, and he has a pretty good shot at it. He’s devoted tons of time to this. Mary Lannin, can’t say enough about her. She’s our running director, and she has done so much and then there’s just a handful of people. Paul Breyer, he’s going to have recycling set up at the event and take care of all the clean up. So that’s a pretty important aspect.
MATT, SR.: And Mark Kundiff who set up all the medical, I mean, great. He’s got a doctor set up and he’s a Glen Arbor Resident and that’s very, very helpful.
MATT, JR.: I have to give a shout out to Stephanie Zalucha, she’s our Media Director who has been doing an amazing job.
MATT, SR.: She’s got everybody talking about the event. We just had a nice article done in Northern Express.
MATT, JR.: Speaking of media, we also have to thank Joe at Three-Coast Media for setting up our M-22 Challenge website this year. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments. People are really liking it, and also of course, Enrico Schaefer from Traverse Legal. He stepped up day 1 to help protect our M-22 brand, and he’s helping do that with M-22 Challenge also.
MATT, SR.: It can be extremely difficult to do an event like this and complicated and that gives a thank you to people like the Sheriff’s Department out in Leland some of the first people that I went to and assured me at the time that the process would be painless, and they have been out there to meet with us and help us and plan it actually with us so I have to give a shout out to them and the Road Commission has been very helpful. They even offered to sweep the roads the day before the race so people won’t hit any of that gravel and they deserve some mentioning there, and we appreciate that.
DAMIEN: Are there any special tie-ins with the M-22 Store in Traverse City and the event?
MATT, JR.: Yeah, during the registration, June 18th from 5 to 7, we will have 22% off everything in the store. So come check it out, and we also have the stand up paddle boards in stock so those who are interested in using a stand up instead of a kayak or something a little different, we’ve got those to check out.
DAMIEN: If someone wants more information about the event, where should they go?
MATT, JR.: www.m22challenge.com that’s the main thing to register just to learn more about what we’re doing www.m22challenge.com.
MATT, SR.: You can go to any of the Chambers’ websites too, and if you want to go to the Glen Arbor Chamber’s website, you can find places to stay in the Glen Arbor area. They’re also linked to us and Traverse City Chamber also, and everybody seems to be picking up on it.
DAMIEN: Thank you very much gentlemen for coming into the studio today to talk about the M-22 Challenge. I would let everyone know you very much will enjoy being in the Glen Arbor Area, the Glen Lakes are absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful spots on the Leelanau Peninsula, Northwestern Michigan. You just can’t beat it for natural beauty and all the things that will be there to see and do. We’ve been speaking with Matt Myerss, Jr., and Matt Myerss, Sr., of M-22. We have been speaking about the M-22 Challenge going on June 20th. Thank you once again for joining us, gentlemen.
MATT, JR.: Thank you, Damien.
MATT, SR.: Thanks a lot; great interview.
DAMIEN: You’ve been listening to the M-22 Challenge Spotlight. My name is Damien Allen in the studio. Everyone have a great afternoon.
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