Event will make splash in Lake St. Clair

Sprint and Splash returns June 6

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 23, 2015

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Sprint and Splash will return to Lake St. Clair for the fourth year at Macomb County’s Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township on Saturday, June 6 with the same vim and vigor that past competitors have come to look forward to and love.

Amanda Minaudo, one of the organizers of the event alongside Gerard Santoro, program manager for the Macomb County Land and Water Resources Department, said the Sprint and Splash festival will include a variety of competitive events, including a duathlon, which will be a 5K run and a 2-mile kayak race, a 5K Fun Run, and a stand-up paddleboarding competition.

Melanie LeFeve, owner of Great Lakes Surf Shop in St. Clair Shores, is organizing the stand-up paddleboarding races.

“Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing watersports in the world right now,” said LeFeve, who has been at her St. Clair Shores location for four years. “Because it’s fun and it’s easy; anyone can do it.”

There will be two stand-up paddleboarding races that day: a 2-mile recreational stand-up paddleboarding competition, and a 6-mile World Paddle Association-sanctioned race.

“Close to 70 people competed last year in both events,” LeFeve said.

For those who don’t have their own equipment, Great Lakes Surf will be renting paddleboards for $10 for the 2-mile race. “Those in the 6-mile race already have their own equipment. Those are the more experienced paddleboarders,” she said.

The Sprint and Splash festival will also feature a Beach Village open throughout the day with music, food, craft beer and local vendors. It is a fundraising event with the unique purpose of promoting and celebrating Lake St. Clair, which organizers call the “heart” of the Great Lakes.

Lake St. Clair is one of the largest freshwater fisheries in North America and also one of the busiest recreational waterways in the Midwest.

The primary benefactor of this event is the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, a nonprofit association created to increase awareness, protect and develop the rich and diverse assets on and around this freshwater community. The goal of the initiative is to educate and connect new and existing visitors about the many experiences offered by Lake St. Clair and the surrounding businesses and communities. Two other nonprofits will also benefit from this event: the Clinton River Watershed Council and Six Rivers Land Conservancy. Both organizations focus on conserving, sustaining and protecting the region’s natural resources.

Minaudo said the presenting sponsor of Sprint and Splash is Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.

“Henry Ford will have physical therapists at the event to provide warmup and conditioning tips, and there will also be one to two doctors at the event providing first aid,” she said.

In addition, everyone who registers will get a complimentary breakfast. Online registration closes at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. To register, go to www.sprintandsplash.com.

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