Press release


Michael Johnston, a paratriathlete and U.S. Paralympic Team hopeful, invites MINI fans to train with him during the rally from New York to Los Angeles.
  • A once-in-a-lifetime experience for MTTS participants
  • Participants in the “Michael Johnston Challenge” can register to run a 5K or bike 10 miles with Johnston during a single training session in one of four locations
  • Additionally, one MTTS sweepstakes winner will be awarded a trip for two to the London 2012 Olympic Games

Woodcliff Lake, NJ,  June 12, 2012. Last month MINI USA named the U.S. Paralympic Team as the charitable partner for MINI TAKES THE STATES 2012 (MTTS), and the partnership has opened the door for rally participants to engage in another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… the “Michael Johnston Challenge.” This fundraising initiative offers MTTS participants a chance to train with an athlete as he runs and rides his bicycle during segments of the cross-country rally.

“With MINI TAKES THE STATES, we work hard to deliver a variety of truly exceptional experiences that connect with the diverse MINI owner community and let them take away a memory that they’ll talk about for years to come,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA. “The Michael Johnston Challenges offer MTTS participants a personal connection to the Olympic Games and a chance to enjoy a healthy activity they love with an inspirational athlete. It’s a great example of how this event is about so much more than the drive.”

Johnston made a challenge when he came on board saying, “This year’s MTTS rally would be the healthiest one yet.” As part of that commitment, he has offered an incentive to motivate participants to live healthy and help a charitable cause. For a minimum donation of $50, MTTS participants can join Johnston, for an opportunity to train and show they have what it takes to keep up.
Challenges will be held in the following select cities:
  • Tuesday, July 3rd at 4:00 PM: Bike with Johnston in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
Location: MINI Headquarters (10 mile ride)
  • Saturday, July 7th at 7:30 AM: Bike with Johnston in Nashville, Tennessee
Location: LP Field (10 mile ride)                  
  • Wednesday, July 10th at 4:00 PM: Bike with Johnston in Lincoln, Nebraska
Location: Antelope Park (10 mile ride)
  • Sunday, July 15th at 7:30 AM: Run with Johnston in Los Angeles, California
Location: Gladstone’s in Malibu (5K run)

Training spaces are limited, and interested participants should visit for full details and to register (click on “Sign Up Now For The Michael Johnston Challenge” at the bottom of the homepage).

A portion of every MTTS general registration fee ($30) will be donated to the U.S. Paralympic team to support the Paralympic athletes who will compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, as well as Paralympic hopefuls as they train. In addition, the money raised by the Michael Johnston Challenges during MTTS will go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), a non-profit organization that supports athletes with physical challenges in their athletic endeavors.

Johnston is an athlete in Para-triathlon, and will represent the United States Olympics Committee for the duration of the MTTS partnership. A below-the-knee amputee, Johnston competes in triathlon (sprint to half-Ironman), duathlon, running, cycling and swimming, and is a hopeful competitor to race on behalf of the United States in Para-triathlon at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

For more photos, click here.

An Unforgettable Trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games
MINI USA understands that not everyone is ready to train like an Olympian or Paralympian, but many still want to support the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team athletes, so all MTTS participants will be able to enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games and cheer on the U.S. Team. The winner will receive a three-night trip for two to London, England from Aug. 7 - 10, 2012 (includes airfare, hotel and meals) and two admission tickets to three events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

To gain entries into the MTTS Sweepstakes, registered attendees can check in (in person) at events, including the daily Rise and Shine in each city, Evening activities and MINIcross. Every time a participant checks in, the barcode on their ticket will be scanned and a contest entry will be submitted with a maximum of three entries per day. Full sweepstakes details and alternative method of entry can be found at

MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand.  The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 113 MINI passenger car dealers in 38 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops.  Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

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