Kayaks started down the Missouri River from Kansas City, Tuesday morning. Over 600 participants have 88 hours to complete the 340-mile trip to St. Charles. Support crews stop at nine different checkpoints to provide their solo entrant or teams with water, ice, food and moral support. Many times, they paddle past the checkpoint.
For those on land, they pack up their gear and drive to the next checkpoint.
I spoke with Michelle Holloway. Her husband Mark was making his fourth MR 340 and second as a solo. His first two attempts were with a friend and they never finished the race. Holloway wanted to finish the entire trip and decided to do it by himself. When I spoke to his wife and daughter Madison, he passed Jefferson City in third place.
For other competitors, like David Dupree from the state of Louisiana, who is making his third trip, the battle is mentally challenging as well as physically.
Only two-thirds of those who enter finish the race.
Ellen Robinett from Lenexa, KS was cheering on her husband Doug. This is their fifth year and they grew attached to Joe Wilson who looked forward to this race every. Wilson, a Jefferson City resident, would help clean up the boat access area weeks before the race, he would cheer on the racers and help pull boats ashore. This past year, Joe died after a battle with cancer. The Robinett’s have fond memories of Joe and this year, Doug has some of Joe’s ashes with him on his boat.
“Doug put him on the boat this year…to let him finish the 340 for a change,” said Ellen.