Runners begin the 2019 Sprint and Splash 5K race. This year’s event is set for Aug. 21.

Runners begin the 2019 Sprint and Splash 5K race. This year’s event is set for Aug. 21.

Photo provided by Amanda Minaudo


Sprint and Splash returns Aug. 21 at Lake St. Clair Metropark

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 10, 2021

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A safe, small event that shows off the beauty of Lake St. Clair Metropark is returning for 2021.

“It’s a really nice race because it’s smaller,” said Amanda Minaudo, program director of community planning for Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. “It’s a really beautiful route, as well.”

The 2021 Sprint and Splash Festival of Races will be held Aug. 21 at Lake St. Clair Metropark. It is the ninth time the races will be held. The event was canceled in 2020.

The Sprint and Splash includes a 5K run, a 2-mile paddle on a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, and then a duathlon that can be raced as an individual or as a relay team with two participants.

Minaudo said the 5K run is family-friendly, and participants can walk or run the race. It begins at 9 a.m. with a course that goes around the marina and then up and around the point, so three-quarters of the race is run along the water. Duathlon participants and individual runners start at the same time.

The 2-mile paddle begins about five minutes after the running race so that everyone just racing the paddle portion of the event can get started before the duathlon participants finish the running portion of their race and get into the water.

“We sort of stagger it, so everyone is kind of crossing the finish line together,” she said.

Duathlon participants start with the 5K run and then head into a transition zone to pick up their kayak or stand-up paddle board for the 2-mile paddle portion of the race. With the relay, one person on the team participates in the 5K, and the other person does the paddle race.

Most participants can complete the duathlon in about 50 minutes, Minaudo said. Over the past decade, the event has been held in all kinds of weather, from cooler temperatures to heat waves, calm days to windy ones, she explained. Although it began with just 50 participants, it has grown over the years to attract more than 250 people, depending on weather the day of the event.

This year’s event will be capped at 200 participants for safety reasons as the state eliminates COVID-19 restrictions. Minaudo said registrations are typically spread fairly evenly between the events.

“We get a lot of walkups. People like to see what the weather’s looking like,” she said.

Registration fees are: $40 for the 5K run, $45 for the duathlon, $80 for the duathlon relay and $40 for the 2-mile paddle. All participants will receive a finisher medal, picnic blanket and swag bag. Awards will be given for the top three male and female overall finishers, as well as winners in age group categories.

Typically, the event includes music, food and craft beer, as well. Minaudo said they are still working to determine if and how they will be able to offer refreshments this year.

“My hope is to be able to have some sort of breakfast sandwich,” and refreshments for participants who want to “hang out and relax” after the race, she said.

A Huron-Clinton Metroparks day or annual pass is required for entry to the event, which raises money for the Metroparks system and the Clinton River Watershed Council.

“It’s on the smaller side, benefits good causes and you get to be out in a pretty route and run (through) their natural area,” Minaudo said.

Those who do not have their own kayak or paddleboard can rent one from Simple Adventures on the registration site, www.sprintandsplash.com. The event is sponsored by Delta Dental and Consumers Energy.

“We do have a contingency plan” if COVID guidelines change before the race, Minaudo said, “to make sure it’s safe.”

“We’ll be following all public health guidelines.”