Event set to make another splash in Macomb County

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published June 4, 2014

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The 3rd annual Sprint and Splash at Lake St. Clair will be held on June 7 at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township.

And just like in 2013, the event will offer three options for participation, according to race director Gerard Santoro, who is also program manager for the Macomb County Land and Water Resources Department.

The duathlon is a 5k run and two-mile kayak — a race that can be done as an individual or as a two-person relay team; the family-friendly 5k fun run and walk; and two stand-up paddle boarding competitions, including the two-mile recreational race and the six-mile World Paddleboard Association-sanctioned race. Races begin at 8:30 a.m., and the park opens to participants at 7:15 a.m.

Santoro said the purpose of this unique event is to promote and celebrate Lake St. Clair, often dubbed “The heart of the Great Lakes.”

Participation in the event helps support organizations that are working to improve the regional economy by increasing tourism to Lake St. Clair and its coastal communities while also striving to protect and restore Lake St. Clair, the Clinton River and the surrounding natural areas.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel’s Blue Economy Initiative aims to utilize the Clinton River, and Lake St. Clair, to help boost economy along the 31-mile coastline.

“Sprint and Splash is quickly becoming one of Macomb County’s premier events,” said Hackel, who will be participating this year. “This fun event offers a little bit of everything — running, water sports and access to local business vendors.”

Santoro said last year’s event attracted more than 400 people, both participants and spectators, up by 100 people during its first year.

“It was a really good crowd, and we were able to raise $14,000,” he said. “It’s a very worthwhile event.”

The primary benefactor will be the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, a nonprofit association that has a goal of educating and connecting new and existing visitors about the many experiences offered by Lake St. Clair, and the surrounding businesses and communities. Two other organizations will also benefit from this event — the Clinton River Watershed Council and Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy. Both organizations focus on conserving, sustaining and protecting the region’s natural resources.

Other attractions during the day will include free warm-up and strength-training tips by Henry Ford Macomb Hospital experts, with tips on the Sprint and Splash website; a food and beer tent featuring craft beer from the award-winning Kuhnhenn Brewing Co.; a buffet lunch from MacRay Harbor; “Get fit with your pet” activities; discounted pet exams; and plenty of games and activities for kids.

“So it’s a great opportunity for people to come out even if they’re not going to participate,” Santoro said. “Everything is oriented to the water; it will be a lot of fun.”

Register online at www.sprintandsplash.com.