Glen Arbor Triathlon Hits the Beach for Sixth Year

Athletes grabbed their running shoes, their bikes and their paddles as they competed in the Sixth Annual M-22 Challenge.

The Glen Arbor triathlon kicked off earlier Monday, featuring 900 athletes and the work of over 100 community volunteers.

The race featured a run over the dunes near Empire and a two-mile trip around a lake in kayaks.

“They work hard and they enjoy it,” said Matt Myers Sr., event coordinator. “It’s a great time for everybody.”

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning to running, biking and hitting the lake.

“For sure, we got about the best morning you can ever have out here today,” Myers Sr. said. “At 6 o’clock this morning, we had over 100 volunteers, around 150 volunteers that were here to help out and they are really the core.”

With that many volunteers on top of 900 participants in the M-22 challenge, Glen Arbor’s Sixth Annual Triathlon is a big deal.

“Oh, this is the coolest thing that we do in all of our business,” said Matt Myers Jr., one of the founders of M-22. “That’s what we say every year. For our entire business, what we do every year, this is the coolest. This is the most fun.”

For Matt and his brother, Keegan, who founded the M-22 company, the challenge means the most when it reaches beyond the area.

With 67 percent of participants being from out-of-state, it shows.

“The participants come from all over,” Myers Jr. said. “We have them from all over the country. They come in from Colorado, from California, wherever they are serious about it. Lot of people from downstate Michigan.”

Racers start the challenge with a two-and-a-half mile run, then grab their bikes for the second leg.

“You get on your bike and you go on possibly the most beautiful bike ride in the world around big and Little Glen Lake,” Myers Jr. said.

“We’ve been excited about it for months,” said Beth Pellerito, an athlete from Alma. “This is our second time running so, yeah, a week of race jitters. I’m super excited.”

As for others, they’ll most likely keep coming back.

“It’s an incredibly beautiful location, gorgeous morning and a great group of people together,” Myers Jr. said. “It’s just why would you not come out here for this?”

The triathlon draws in around $750,000 for the entire Glen Arbor area each year.