Why put yourself through the pain and hit to your wallet to compete in the MR340, the worlds longest non stop River Kayak/Canoe/Stand up paddle board race?
Update: The 2019 MR340 race is now October 15-18!
Entered the MR340 and got this shirt!
School of pain tolerance!
Ready for the long drive from Florida to Kansas City
Why the muddy river?
88 hours in the summer sun and full moon, exhausted, sore, the wind against you and blisters on your palms. Why?
Rear end and legs sore, feet muddy, sunscreen cached on, difficulty standing, hungry, fog bound mornings-is that Lightning in the distance?
Hours spent in practice, hours watching the weather forecast and flood warnings.
Hours spent packing and repacking the kayak. What can I do without for four days? Practice setting the tent up in the dark, practice paddling in dark waters.
Hours on google maps studying the checkpoints, reading the forums. What is a wing dike? What is a Berger bend?
Money spent on gear, electrolytes, on travel, on hotels, on Advil, on Mountain house foods, on extra equipment. How many batteries for navigation lights for three nights, flashlight, spotlight, weather radio, phone?
So I made this page to explain "WHY" and to point out that anyone can complete the race with a little physical and metal preparation.
I still remember the reaction a co-worker who read the story I wrote about our last MR340 race adventure and to put it mildly, he was skeptical that it was "fun".
"Too hot, too early, too sore, tornado?" he said.
Of course I had left out the mud, mosquitos, jumping carp and Advil.
Well it is true that National Geographic listed the MR340 race as of America's top 100 North American adventures. Cool, but not the reason to complete.
And from the crowded start to the exhausted finish, it is an awesome experience, but still not reason to consider the MR340
Near the MR340 half way point--190 miles to go!
(photo: Missouri River, & the sun has finally sank below the tree line)
I took this photo of this painting that is located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. The painting represents a meeting of the Louis and Clarke group and Kickapoo hunters soon after the expedition left St. Charles on their historic journey. The painting is only a few a miles from the race finish and is on a very isolated hiking trail along the River.
"Who" placed the painting in that spot? I could not tell you.
Why enter the MR340?
Well, yes the race and river are steeped in the history & aura of the Louis and Clark Expedition of exploration on the Missouri River, to the Pacific and back.
One year during the MR340--An audio book of "Undaunted Courage" was playing as I passed a canoe. I stopped and drifted awhile, having a chew of jerky and listening to the Steven Ambrose story.
Brought a smile....
Louis and Clark Re-enactor getting ready to start the MR340 race.
The #1 reason to compete in the MR340 is the journey of discovery of yourself
(Photo: taking a quick shelter under a bridge when a storm blew in off of the great plains)
Adventure- of course, discovery- certainly, education-every day.
What happens when you decide to enter the most difficult event of your life?
A life altering mental and physical change for the better.
Mid winter reflection of the MR340 race
(Final boat ramp before the finish line) The line of bluffs in the distance is the ridge where I took the Kickapoo picture)
You say to yourself: "This is the hardest thing I will ever do in my life" as you count the full moons to the race start.
You begin to work out.
You practice your boating skills.
You educate yourself on proteins, carbohydrates and the hazards and evils of processed sugars.
You wake up sore, realizing you had been holding the paddle wrong the day before.
You learn about electrolytes. How much can you eat while sitting in a boat. Bathroom break while in the boat.
Dawn on the last day. Feeling Good!
The finish line a mere 80 miles towards the sunrise.
You learn to your astonishment that anyone, any age, any size can complete the race. The key is simply not giving up-despite the heat, mud and blisters.
However the more you prepare, the easier and more enjoyable is the worlds longest Non Stop River kayak/canoe race!
(FYI, the water tribe races on the Florida coasts are longer distance-but they are not river races. And the Yukon River Race is three times longer than the MR340, however the Yukon has mandatory rest points. Consequently that leaves the MR to get bragging rights for the longest "non-stop" river race!)
I made this map of the MR340 race.
List the checkpoints and our goal of for each day. This is the "easy" race pace in which we sleep for fiver hours a night. This schedule also brings you to the finish line at near "Last Place"
"At the finish line" is the key phrase!
The river the year of this photo was "just below flood stage" --All the wing dikes and many of the islands were submerged. However only the week before, the river was "in the trees"
The Coast Guard permitted the race, but it had been a nerve biting close thing.
Anyone can complete this race. Just stay in the boat!
Training for the MR340 (Florida style)
Water level on the Missouri River. Flood stage will cancel or delay the race (per Coast Guard rules)
Monitor, monitor, monitor..
As mentioned, the 2019 race has been delayed at the very least until the end of summer.
Return Home from the MR340 kayak race page
My fictional series/stories on Florida history:
Freedoms Quest (book one)
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida.
Available on Amazon