Hello MR340 Racers!

This is the final dispatch, and you know what that means. It’s almost RACE TIME!

Here are some reminders for you as race day approaches:

Watch the Safety Meeting Video if you haven’t yet.

Review the MR340 race rules and the MR340 Resources page.

Watch the MR340 RaceOwl Tutorial if you missed it and want additional RaceOwl info.

Print your completed race Waiver (and remember to note on the top that you have watched the Safety Meeting Video and have read all Dispatches).

Come to the mandatory Check-In at Kaw Point on 7/11/22 any time between noon and 8:00 p.m. where you will turn in your waiver, complete your first official RaceOwl checkpoint check-in, pick up your cool race t-shirt, and grab a Safety Dispatch Card that you will keep in your boat during the race. Feel free to drop off your empty boat while you are there.

Consult the 2-page parking map that shows your best parking options and be sure you have a parking plan for race day Tuesday.

Check out the new ramp resource map that shows all possible ramps available along the race route, and share this link with your crew!

Please visit our list of all the amazing sponsors that help make this race possible. You will see some of our race sponsors at Check-In on Monday and at the finish line in St. Charles on Friday. Visit their tents and tell them thanks!

Those of us here at Missouri River Relief are so proud to have been part of this world-class race since 2008. And to have been the hosts since last year.

The community of paddlers and race lovers that have gathered around this event is something really special. The connection we all have to each other and the river is a treasure, something we need to take care to cultivate. Seeing all of you generously sharing information, ideas, tips and gentle jokes in the Facebook group is awesome. Watching you build the community in 5Ks and bigger races across the region is great to witness.

Your support of our work through race registrations, donations and t-shirt purchases makes our mission connecting people to the Missouri River more powerful. We really appreciate it and don’t take it for granted. We hope to see you at one of our other river cleanups, education programs or the Race to the Dome October 1!

And we can’t wait to share the river with you next week!

Christina Ruiz

Hello again!

The 2022 MR340 Safety Video is available for you to watch!

All racers are required to watch this mandatory video. Included is crucial information you need to know for safely completing the race. You will be required to check on your Race Waiver that you’ve watched the video (and have read all the Dispatches).

Heads up – it’s pretty long. Get a snack and a beverage, sit back, and roll with it. Or watch it in batches if you like. Pause and take notes if you need to. It’s also super helpful if ground crews watch this video.

Need more info about RaceOwl? The 2022 RaceOwl Tutorial is being held on 6/29/22 7:00PM CST. We'll be joined by RaceOwl developer Jon Marble to walk through how to use the RaceOwl app for MR340 race checkpoint check-in and out and auto-tracking, and how race fans can use the RaceOwl website to track their racers' progress.

Only registered users can attend the webinar on Zoom, which allows for Q&A. Register here:

Or you can watch the presentation live-streamed on the Missouri River Relief YouTube Channel and the recording will later be shared.

Our YouTube Channel:

Hope you are fine-tuning your plans and getting as excited as we are!

Christina Ruiz

MR340 Racers and Crews,

It’s crunch time now. We only have a couple weeks until we arrive at Kaw Point for race start. But we still have a little time to sort out the last details!

We want you to have the best MR340 experience possible. And we want you to take care of yourself in preparation for this event and while you are out on the race course. This race will test you. For some of you, you will be tested in ways you’ve never been tested before and in ways you didn’t imagine. The MR340 can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Race week is not your average 9-5 Monday through Friday. We trust that because you have chosen to register for this race you are up to its challenges.


Everyone has their own unique set of things they have to be aware of regarding their own health, and those are details you need to share with your ground crew. Do you have a medical condition that you need to monitor? Do you have medications you need to take with consistency? Do you have any medication or food allergies? Do you carry an EpiPen?

Talk it over. Tell your crew what they can help keep an eye out for when they see you at your stops. You’re going to be exhausted, and it’s sometimes harder to monitor yourself once you get deeper into the river miles. Give your crew the info they need so you can rely on them as you would within any other buddy system. That’s part of their purpose. Utilize your crews.


It’s really hard to wrap your mind around 340 miles of paddling day in and day out. So don’t! Break it up in sections from ramp to ramp. Are you meeting your crew at Lexington the first day? Plan for Kansas City to Lexington. That’s 50 miles.

What do you need in order to do 50 miles? What is your plan with your crew at Lexington? What are you reloading into the boat at Lexington? When you pull in to Lexington, you and your crew will know your general plan. Assess yourself along the way.

So you made it 50 miles. Over. Forget about it. Your race just started over. Assess. Are you good? Anything causing concern for you? Do you feel like you are up to the next distance before you meet your crew again? If all is well, you’re back at it.

You’ve got 23 miles. Repeat the process.

For a number of racers, something happens in this process that causes them to pause to try to get control over a situation. Maybe it’s a long rest in an air-conditioned car because they are feeling a little too hot for what feels right for them. Maybe it’s something annoying in the boat that needs fixed. Maybe this isn’t what they thought it would be. Maybe it’s more serious. Maybe this is the end of their race.

The consistent assessment of your situation on the water and at ramps with your crew can help you make good decisions about your race. If you’re not feeling confident about the next 23-mile goal for any reason, talk it out. It’s easier to pause at a ramp with your crew to sort it all out than push on and have issues 5 miles later.


You’ve likely got a fancy smart phone with all your fancy apps on it. Use your favorite radar app or site on your phone to stay in tune with upcoming weather. Have your crew stay in tune with the weather so they can give you a call or text if they see a storm pop up in an area near you. Storms pop up out of nowhere in the Midwest.

Don’t wait for a storm to hit before you get off the water. If you start seeing dark clouds and hear thunder in the distance, you need to be ready to react. Find a safe place. Out on open water with the threat of lightening is very dangerous. Ideally you are heading in to the nearest ramp/shelter if you can, and also plan to stay at that location until you know it’s safe to proceed down river. It’s your responsibility to be aware on the water, and that includes weather. If you need to pull into a location without your crew there, do you have enough clothing to stay warm? Dry clothes after the rain? Enough calories to be stopped a while? This is part of that ramp to ramp thinking. Be prepared ramp to ramp.

PREVENTION IS KEY – Avoid heat-related illness

•      Stay protected from the sun (hats, long sleeves, cover legs, sunscreen).
•      Don’t rely on sunscreen on bare skin alone.
•      Dip your hat in the water, keep a wet handkerchief around your neck. Submerge yourself in
        water at a sandbar or checkpoint (with your PFD on).
•      Drink plenty of liquids with sports drinks intermixed.
•      Eat salty snacks. Keep eating in general. Have your crew monitor your food and liquids as
•      Staying with your crew at a ramp for a while? Rest in their air-conditioned car.
•      Educate yourself and your crew on heat-related illness. Watch out for light-headedness,
        muscle cramps, nausea, headache, confusion, weakness.
•      Share food or liquids with other paddlers if you find a fellow racer runs out while on water.
•      Keep your Safety Dispatch card in your boat. Flag down or call Safety Dispatch if you need
        some urgent liquids or food while on the water.
•      Call Safety Dispatch if you think a fellow racer is having trouble. Stay with them until help
•      Don’t tough it out. Heat-related illness can be difficult to reverse.


Know your limit. Everyone in this race will be pushing through adversity, but there could come a point at which that push is not realistic or healthy. This is a decision you might have to make.

Again, it’s easier to make this decision at a ramp.

Don’t worry, you’re still a total badass.

If you leave the race – submit the DNF (did not finish) option in RaceOwl or text in to RaceOwl. We must know you are leaving the race. Otherwise, a process involving a phone call to ramp volunteers, a call to your ground crew, and potentially a safety boat being dispatched begins as we try to track you down. Don’t make us search the river for you when you are in a car on your way back home.

PARKING (Yeah, I know you’re thrilled. But PLEASE READ!)

Review the 2 page 2022 Parking Map and information before the race. Come up with a parking plan!

Check-In Parking at Kaw Point  - Monday 7/11/22
•      Many racers leave their empty boats at Kaw Point during the mandatory Check-In on
        between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Up to you.
•      Don’t leave electronics, paddles, etc. Just your boat. We will have people working all night
        keeping an eye on the area, and Kaw Point Park closes to the public at 10:00 p.m., so access
        will be limited overnight.
•      No trailer parking on Race Day Tuesday.

Race Day - Tuesday 7/12/22
Kaw Point parking fills quickly. If you aren’t there by 6:00 a.m. or so, you will probably get looped back out of the park. Plan to park outside Kaw Point when all possible.

Consider using the Riverfront Heritage Trail to access Kaw Point on foot.
(Racers/crews can easily use a foldable wagon to transport race day items to boats if they choose – great to use at checkpoints too.)

NEW THIS YEAR! Municipal Lot #4
•      Located between State Ave and Minnesota Ave – access east of N 5th St via State Ave or
        Minnesota Ave.
•      Hundreds of free parking spaces offered by the city between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Hilton Garden Inn
•      Hotel guests can park in hotel parking garage.
•      Parking is also available directly south of hotel in free city parking lot.
•      Parking lot in further south section of above is metered parking.

Street Parking
•      Various street parking is available along Armstrong and N 5th streets

Small Parking Lot
•      Under the overpass off Armstrong northbound from N. St. James St.

Kaw Point Parking – Race Day - Tuesday 7/12/22
•      Please look out for and listen to our VOLUNTEER parking attendants for any instructions.
•      Racers can also be dropped off by crew at Kaw Point and have crew park in area parking
        outside Kaw Point.
•      Spectators are encouraged to carpool if possible and use area parking outside Kaw Point,
        taking the Riverfront Heritage Trail Connector when all possible.
•      All walk-in traffic should be via the Riverfront Heritage Connector Trail to avoid vehicle traffic
        near Kaw Point entrance.
•      Big trucks/SUVs should park in far SW parking section or in area under the overpass.
•      Cars should start filling in lot starting along the north, working south
•      Do not park in the Kaw Point Industrial Park lots.
•      Note the one-way entrance on west end of floodwall and one-way exit on east end of floodwall.


Please print and complete your printed race waiver. Bring it with you to Kaw Point and drop off during Check-In noon to 8:00 p.m. We will have some blank ones there if you forget, but we might have those printed in another color so we can tell who forgot theirs. We send those names to the Reaper. Kidding on the last part!


Bring some cash, and tell your crews to do the same. If you have a chance to support these groups at ramps along the way, please do!

Lexington (rm 316.4): Boy Scouts selling food in the pavilion: burgers, hotdogs, chips, snacks, and drinks

Waverly (rm 293.5): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks at both ramps

Miami (rm 263): Food will be available for sale

Glasgow (rm 226): Fresh On the Go food truck

Franklin Island (rm 195): (We’re still trying to get some food sales here!)

Cooper’s Landing (rm 170): Food trucks each day from noon until 8 p.m., plus sandwiches, drinks, and snacks for purchase in the General Store: Tues noon-3am, Wed 5am-3am, Thur 5am-10pm, Fri 9am-10pm

Jeff City (rm 144): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks

Hermann (rm 98): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks

New Haven (rm 81.4): Paddle Stop New Haven and the Lang-A-Tang Snack Shack will have refreshments available for sale at the ramp, Paddle Stop Brewery will be open Wed morning non-stop through Friday morning

Klondike (rm 56): The Nature Conservancy is offering free grilled items, snacks, and drinks

St. Charles (rm 29): Lewis & Clark Boathouse will have tacos, hard lemonades, Schlafly beer, and a few other surprises for sale


•      Email us if you have any updates we need to make for you (changing divisions, changes to
        ground crew contact info, etc.) at
•      Check out the MR340 Resources page
•      Review the RaceOwl information posted in Dispatch #2.
•      Check the roster.
        Do you have a boat number and, if applicable, correct teammates listed there?

The new Safety Meeting Video will be coming your way soon. You are required to watch this video by Check-In on Monday 7/11/22. The top of your race waiver that you turn in at Check-In includes a statement that you have watched the video (and read these dispatches). That’s how much we want you to watch the video!

Get ready!

Christina Ruiz

Hello, MR340 friends!

If you’ve recently registered for this year’s race, please check out the previous Dispatches to catch up on a variety of race topics we’ve mentioned so far. You can also find info in the MR340 Resources that have been compiled over time. Join the MR340 Facebook community for race conversation as well. And as always, feel free to reach out if you still have any questions we can help answer.

About half of our racers are returning race veterans. If this is your first year, know that you will have a fair amount of contact with other racers on the water, especially during your first couple days. You’re not alone out there. Pick the brains of those veteran racers along the way. Every one of these folks will have their own unique pieces of advice, and many are going to be just as happy to share their experiences with you as you will be to learn from them.

And there is no end to the stories from repeat racers. I once saw Dracula in a blue bath robe on the back of Scott Mansker’s safety boat, holding his robe like a cape disguising his face. Scott was just standing there steering the boat, somehow completely clueless to the threat behind him. Dracula approached Scott sneakily on tip toes. I screamed loudly, “Scott, watch out!!” And suddenly, when Scott yelled back, “What?!”, the scary bather was gone.

Plenty to discuss out there along 340 miles.

We’re working on this year’s online safety meeting video which is required for all racers to watch. You’ll be able to watch that at your leisure and in advance of the mandatory Check-In on Monday 7/11/22. A link for that video will be coming your way before long.

Monday, 7/11/22 Race Check-In

You’ll arrive at Kaw Point between noon and 8:00 p.m. the day before the race to turn in your waiver, pick up your t-shirt, and grab a required safety card with safety info you’ll keep in your boat (we’ll have some printed on waterproof paper for you). You’ll double-check all of your contact and race info with us and provide any last-minute edits. Chat with some of the race sponsors that will be available, load up on some MR340 and Missouri River Relief merch at our merch tent, and get your last minute RaceOwl questions answered. You’ll have your first official Checkpoint check-in at Kaw Point during this time.

You are welcome to drop off your empty boat during Check-In. We will have folks at Kaw Point Park all night keeping an eye on things. Leave at your own risk, but we’ve never had any issues either. Bring your paddles and other race gear and supplies the morning of race start. It’ll make your early morning arrival for the race a lot easier. We’ll have an important race day parking plan for you in an upcoming Dispatch that you’ll want to be sure to share with your crew.

What can you expect on the water Day 1? Hopefully not Dracula, but let’s run through it.

Butterflies in the stomach. You’ll want to arrive early, load up your boat, and quickly launch into water either from the ramp or along an open bank space of the Kansas River. Give yourself time to float around upstream of the ramp or park yourself along either side of the bank. The official starting line is anywhere upstream of the boat ramp. Take some time to sit, relax, and breathe.

The race begins promptly at 7:00 a.m. for all solos and at 8:00 a.m. for all other divisions, unless for some reason we have a storm or fog delay.

Once the race begins, be mindful of the transition of water from the Kansas “Kaw” River to the Missouri River. The Kaw is slow moving and the Missouri will be faster. If you crowd in close to other racers at the start take off, you increase your chances of colliding with other boats or flipping over at the confluence. Give yourself and everyone around you some room for that movement as you angle to the right entering the Missouri.

In the event you do flip at the start, Kansas City Fire Department will have rescue boats in the water, and we will have safety boats available as well. Stay with your boat and wait for help. Fellow racers – watch out for anyone in the water and lend a hand as you would anywhere else along the course until other help can assist.

The Kaw has plenty of room from bank to bank to spread out. And this race has plenty of hours for you to afford a little time to sort out your best starting path. Check out Chris Luedke’s video on the race start for some reference:

After you pass the start and clear the upcoming bridges, you’ll eventually get into the rhythm of your first day. You’ll get passed by some boats, and you will pass some boats. Find the pace that feels right for you. It’s a marathon, so you want that sweet spot where you can maintain a steady pace without overdoing it and needing long breaks. You’ll start to notice other boats traveling at your similar speed.

As you get settled into your day you might starting to notice details about your efficiency. Hopefully you have sorted out most of this ahead of time. Here are some things to consider while you can still plan now:

1.      Weight! Less is more. Have your crew carry all the things you won’t need until the next stop where they meet you. Your crew can be your refill of everything ramp to ramp. No need to take multiple days of supplies.

2.      Time off water! Every minute you aren’t on the water is time you’re not benefitting from free current moving toward the finish line. Live in the boat. Eat in the boat. Take any paddle breaks in the boat. Pee in the boat. We have porta-potties set up at a number of ramps along the way, but your body isn’t going to coincide with those exact locations. Plus, you will lose a considerable amount of time getting in and out of ramps just for a tiring walk up to a toilet. Save your time and energy and sort out a pee plan in your boat at your local lake, river, or in your garage ahead of time. The biggest waste of race time we see happens off water. You can easily get pulled into time sucks at ramps. Throw that cheeseburger in the boat and jump back in.

3.      Fine-tuned ground crew! Your ground crew can be physical or virtual, and their primary role is to be aware of your location and health. This is easier for physical ground crews. For virtual crews, you need to have an arrangement between racer and crew for texts or voice contact at regular intervals. If your virtual crew doesn’t hear from you as planned, they are to call a safety boat to report no contact.

Your physical ground crew’s efficiency becomes your efficiency. Have them approach the race with an on-land plan that can include things like using a cart to haul your refill items to the ramp, being the extra hands to move your boat once you are off the water at a stop, the hands that remove your trash from your boat while you stretch, the extra set of eyes to monitor how much and what you are eating and drinking between stops. Text them ahead of time if you have a special need they can have ready for you.

At this point, you’re paddling along as planned, drinking liquids and eating periodically. If you are in a tandem or team boat, use the buddy system and consistently check on each other. Stay cool by dipping your hat in the river. Be aware of your present location as you travel along. And be on the lookout for barge traffic.

Barges and Dredges

Barge traffic on the Missouri is minimal but increasing. We will see 2 or 3 during race week but potentially more. Some are long haul and travel night and day. Some are short haul and just going a half mile back and forth from a sand dredge.

Sand dredges operate mostly during normal daylight work hours.  These are large, noisy, and anchored night and day midstream. You will pass one the first morning. The dredge itself doesn't move, but the cables that anchor it to the bottom will rise and fall out of the water. Keep your distance. The dredges auger up sand from the river bottom for use in construction. The sand is then deposited in sand flats (barges) tied alongside the dredge. As the flat is filled, a small towboat will bring an empty to the other side of the dredge, tie it off, then grab the full one and haul it to shore for offloading. So, if you see a dredge pumping sand, look for the towboat and try to stay out of their path from shore to dredge and back.

At night, the dredges do not usually operate but they will still be there in the water.  They are supposed to leave a light on both ends but you can't count on this as the lights can fail.  You'll want to use your eyes and ears and be ready to grab that strong LED flashlight if needed to light up the river if you need to.

The other type of towboat will be pushing 2-3 barges for long distances, running night and day.  These are bigger and tend to throw a larger wake if moving upstream with a heavy load.  If you see a barge going upstream OR downstream, you need to exit the navigation channel and stay a safe distance away. This can be a good time to tuck behind a wing dike to have a snack and a short rest from the paddle.

Due to the nature of the Missouri River the towboat will be constrained to the navigation channel to assure it will have the depth to proceed.  You, being a tiny little boat, are not constrained to this channel. If you move out of the channel you are almost assured of not being in the way.  Typically, the off-channel side of the river will be the inside of bends.  Here's a great explainer video from Chris Luedke's 340 Paddler channel:

After the barge let's imagine you're getting to a rendezvous with your ground crew. The Missouri River has many boat ramps and adjacent parks, but the MR340 does overwhelm the parking and ramp areas. We all have to work together to keep the ramps functional and keep things moving smoothly.

The main issue at ramps tends to be at the bottom where racers are landing, repacking, and launching in what is often a tight space. We have to leave the bottom of the ramp open so racers can land. Once you land, grab your boat (or have your crew do this) and carry it up the ramp to a spot out of the way. Only the fastest racers will get there early enough to have the ramp to themselves for the ground crew to service their boat at the waterline. Everyone else will often find a crowded ramp and will need to come up the ramp to a clear spot. Please help this happen not just for fellow racers, but for any potential emergency assistance that may need to get quickly out onto the water from a ramp.


Waverly is the first official Checkpoint this year, river mile 293.5 (74 miles). And this town has two boat ramps. The first is upstream of the bridge, and the second is just downstream. You can choose either one. Both will have food available for sale from the local boy scout troop. Please support them! Both ramps will have restrooms available. If you choose to stop at Waverly, be sure it’s clear with your crew as to which ramp you plan to utilize.

Protocol at a Checkpoint is no different than any other ramp you use in the MR340. Help keep the ramp clear and be efficient. The difference is that at a Checkpoint, you are required to check in electronically using text messaging or the RaceOwl app. Check out all of the detailed RaceOwl info in Dispatch #2.

Checking in is a crucial part of the MR340 safety plan. Remember that your first check in will have happened on Monday, the day before race start at Kaw Point. Waverly will then be the second time you officially check in. We will have a couple RaceOwl volunteers at Waverly if you or your ground crew need an extra bit of help to get the hang of it.

The Waverly Checkpoint cutoff time is 8:00 p.m. Soloists have 13 hours to get there, and everyone has 12 hours. If you don’t arrive by 8:00 p.m., you are out of the race. Remember – stay efficient, especially for Day 1. The Reaper is the pace boat at the rear of the race which will arrive at the speed needed to meet the 8:00 p.m. cutoff at Waverly (and every other Checkpoint close time along the way). More info on the Reaper in Dispatch #1. Beat the Reaper.

The odds are actually in your favor to beat the Reaper to Waverly. Planning can take you far in this race. So now is the time to sort out all the details you can. You still have time!

Some of you will feel a need to hang out or even spend the night at Waverly. Resist that feeling. The park at Waverly has train tracks running through it (and loud, fast trains), and it might well be muggy and buggy. You still have at least another hour of daylight. Have your crew refill what you need, make sure you have your navigation lights working on your boat, and grab your nighttime gear you prepared. Maybe you even have a new paddle buddy you have made on the water. Buddy up and take off.

A good spot downstream to get rest is Hill’s Island, about 12 miles from Waverly at river mile 281. The Reaper will overnight here. Racers who stop at Hill’s Island will leave at various times. Watch for others heading out and join their little packs or their spread-out lines of lights down the water. Gain distance from the Reaper. Hill’s Island can be the last time you even see the Reaper. You’re then headed toward your next Checkpoint, Glasgow, river mile 226.

And there you go. You are through Day 1. You have figured out your pace, you have stayed hydrated, you have eaten and peed in your boat, you have made buds, you have encountered a barge, and you have seen the moon rise over the beautiful Missouri River. You didn’t have many surprises along the way. And you didn’t see Dracula. So far, so good.

Stay tuned for the next Dispatch with more race details.

Do we still have your correct info? Are you in the correct division? Did your partner get registered?
Check the roster:

Use CTRL-F to find your name or just hunt for it. Does everything look right? Is your boat number valid? Make sure your partner is registered. And Email us at to let us know if you have made any changes to your ground crew, emergency contact, or even boat color. We’ll get you up to date.

Thank you to all of you still actively fundraising for Missouri River Relief! We appreciate you all sharing your fundraiser links and moving up on the Leaderboard. We still have merch ready to send to you all as you hit your next levels on the board.

Keep planning! Get out on some water!

Christina Ruiz

Hello again!

Thank you for all of your Missouri River Relief fundraising efforts that met the April 1st deadline! You have played a big role in continuing our Missouri River education programs, river cleanups, and special events which include the MR340.

For those of you continuing your fundraising, we’re looking forward to sending more cool MR340 merch your way. Check out the LeaderboardLlama Racks is providing car/truck racks for racers who hit our highest fundraising tier. So far, we have one racer who has hit this tier, and we hope some of the rest of you can receive a Llama Rack too!

As a reminder, the 17th Annual MR340 is July 12-15 with mandatory Race Check-In at Kaw Point Park on July 11 between noon and 8pm. When we see you on July 11, we will have you officially check-in to RaceOwl at your first ramp of the race, Kaw Point.

RaceOwl is the tracking and communication system used by the MR340 and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi-year MR340 veteran.

RaceOwl is a key aspect of the race’s safety plan and consists of the RaceOwl website, texting services, phone apps and location trackers. The system serves 3 main purposes:
•      Communication: RaceOwl provides a critical communication link between race officials, paddlers, and ground crew. Safety related text messages are broadcast to participants alerting you to hazards such as barges and weather events. You may send text messages to RaceOwl where volunteers can answer your questions and assist you with non-emergency issues.
•      Location: Officials need to know that you are progressing along the race course within the expected times and in a safe manner. Race observers want to keep up with where you are along the race course.
•      Leader board and statistics: Current leader status is gathered, estimated and displayed on the RaceOwl website. RaceOwl also calculates and displays estimated racer arrival times at Checkpoints and PaddleStop. Split times, speeds, and location history are also available. 

There are two parts of the RaceOwl system!
•      The App – this is the easiest way to check in and out at official Checkpoints (and utilized for automatic tracking and check-ins/outs – more on that below).
•      The Website– this is where you, your Ground Crew and your fans at home can access the Live Race Map, Race Results, and Check-in/out times.

Download/Update the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.

Follow setup instructions available from RaceOwl

Don’t wait until the night before race registration to familiarize yourself with RaceOwl. To learn more about the RaceOwl system usage such as: check-in/out, tracking, app use and website during the MR340, take advantage of training materials and opportunities:
•      Review the training documents available on (
•      Follow the MR340 Facebook page and Rivermiles Forum to learn about upcoming Zoom training meeting(s) and/or training videos. Our 2021 webinar recording is here:

It is essential that you train with the 340-practice race or participate in other race events that use RaceOwl so you become familiar with the app and the RaceOwl website ahead of the MR340. Download the app and play with it a little, you'll catch on quickly.

CHECKPOINT Check-In/Check-Out with RACEOWL
Racers must provide their position along the race course. This is required for our safety protocols. Official Checkpoint check-in and check-out provides a way for you to report your position along the race course. Minimally, you are required to know how to check in and check out of Checkpoints and have a phone capable of sending text and receiving texts from the RaceOwl text number.

Manual texts to the RaceOwl text number (8163406395) should have the form:

<boat number> <checkpoint> <day> <time> <am|pm> <in|out>

For example: When boat number 1234 arrives at Waverly just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, they text the following message to RaceOwl:
1234 Waverly tues 6:15 pm in

They have a burger and relax a while and as they leave the Checkpoint they text out:
1234 Waverly tues 7:50 pm out

Manual texting works, but an easier, less error prone way is accomplished with the RaceOwl app. The app takes care of the formatting for you and is highly recommended as it reduces your workload down to a couple of button pushes and provides immediate feedback from RaceOwl that your check-in/out was accepted.

Your first official 340 Race Check-In on your phone happens the day before the race at Kaw Point Park between noon and 8pm, July 11. Please come with the app on your phone and if you have questions we can help answer them there. Once you get that first check in under your belt, the next one isn't until the next day at Waverly. We will have some RaceOwl volunteers at this Checkpoint in case you need assistance.

Check-ins and check-outs do not have to be done by the paddler; they may be accomplished by ground crew or other volunteers.

Racers that track themselves provide RaceOwl with periodic GPS location pings of their location as they paddle downstream. Doing this provides RaceOwl with real time information regarding where the paddler is at. We strongly encourage every boat to track their position so that:
•      Safety crews have an approximate current location of each racer
•      Ground crews can know when to expect you at the next Checkpoint or PaddleStop.
•      Spectators can enjoy tracking racers during the event.
There are two ways to track your position during the race:
•      Use a satellite tracker, such as Garmin InReach or SPOT Tracker OR
•      Use the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.

The benefit of using a satellite tracker is that you will have continuous connectivity over the entire race course. However, satellite trackers can be costly and their web setup is ‘non-trivial’.

The benefit of using a phone tracker is that the apps are free. However, you may experience a few cell phone coverage drop outs (for example the Glasgow black hole) and phones require a bit more ‘care and feeding’. That is, you will have to charge the phone. A 20000 mah charging brick is typically sufficient for the whole race’s charging needs.  Some boats will choose to swap a phone with ground crew to allow them to charge it. NOTE: if you swap phones be sure that you turn off tracking! We’ve tracked many ground crews across Missouri roads.

If you are successfully tracking, you are not required to check in and check out of official Checkpoints. RaceOwl will take care of this for you! If your tracker is misbehaving in any way, then your device will be put on a ‘bad list’, your tracker information will be rejected by RaceOwl, and you and your ground crew will get a text from RaceOwl instructing you to revert to Checkpoint check-in and check-out.

If you have any questions, contact RaceOwl

Still need a place to stay in Kansas City before the race or in St. Charles after? Here are some discounted MR340 room blocks you might want to check out:

Hilton Garden Inn Kansas City
(located a couple blocks from the Riverfront Heritage Trail which you can use to access Kaw Point Park on foot)
520 Minnesota Ave
Kansas City, KS  66101
(913) 342-7900

Use this link to make your reservation:

Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles
(located upstream of the race Finish Line within walking distance)
1 Ameristar Blvd
St. Charles, MO  63301
(636) 949-7777

If you book over the phone, tell them you need to utilize the "Missouri River 340 Kayak Race" group pricing. Use MISI22C if booking online at

The Alpine Shop Race Calendar has been updated on Rivermiles to include a variety of race opportunities for you to check out. The next race on the Missouri River is the RPC3 Shootout on May 21st and would be a great chance to test your RaceOwl app. This race from Kansas City, KS to Lexington, MO coincides with the MR340 start location to the first MR340 PaddleStop ramp and can give you a feel of what your first 51 miles of the MR340 could be like. Minus the Reaper.

Every boat must have a ground crew – physically present or virtual. Our preference is that yours is physically present, and we mentioned some details about the importance of your crew in the previous dispatch. Physically present ground crews can make a big difference between someone finishing the race or not.

If you are unsupported with a virtual ground crew, you need to consider the extra supplies that would have normally been transported in a crew’s vehicle and waiting for you at a ramp (think night-time clothing layers, first aid for those hands and heels, medications, extra toilet paper just in case, another hat because the river ate yours, etc.). Also, you need to scout out the food and water options ahead of the race so you can develop your own refueling plan. If you have any issues during the race, please do reach out to any of our safety boats which will be on the water and at various ramps throughout.

For those of you new to the race, I want to offer something additional to think about regarding what your physically present crews can be part of in your MR340.

Race strategy.

Sure, ground crews can wait around for you at Checkpoints, shove hot dogs into your mouth, and watch you slowly turning into a half-human river creature. That’s fun. But consider having them be your strategic on-land race teammates. They’ll have a blast and you’ll love them even more for it.

Ground crews can track your speed on RaceOwl (and the speed of your closest competitors) in order to know exactly when you are looking to slide in to the next ramp and have things ready for you, meet you at less used/less congested ramps, monitor your food and liquids and electrolytes between stops, give you that pep talk and shoulder massage, have a make-shift lounging spot set up in an air-conditioned vehicle or under the stars… The list and details can go on and on.

All of your partnered strategies with your ground crew turn in to you all getting to St. Charles that much faster. Schlafly’s Bankside is 440 paces from the water at the Finish Line ramp. Less if you cut through the grass.

More race info will be coming your way in future dispatches! Have any questions in the meantime? Email us at and we’ll get you taken care of.

Your Race Manager,
Christina Ruiz

Hello Friends!

I'm Christina Ruiz and I am your new Race Manager with Missouri River Relief. I am so proud to have the opportunity to officially welcome you to this event. I’m delighted to have a new role involving this race, and I look forward to the collective journey.

Race Founder Scott Mansker is still serving as the Race Director this year. But you can consider me your first contact for any of your questions or needs for the race. If you email we'll both get it!

I have found every MR340 to be unique, and if you are a recurring veteran I think you’ll agree with that statement. If you are new to the MR340, congrats on the start of something great!

Having personally competed in MR340 races from “last in the pack” to an eventual 38 hour finish years later, I know that planning and strategizing can make a big impact on fulfilling your personal MR340 goals, whatever those goals happen to be.

This is the first Dispatch for 2022. We will send you 5 or more of these as we get closer to the race. It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you read all of these! I hope you find the first dispatch of 2022 a kick off to your own planning and strategizing because, in some ways, this is the start of your race.

It can also help to read past years' dispatches (though some info might be out of date), and you can find them on the Rivermiles forum. Here's a link to last year's dispatches -


The 17th Annual MR340 is July 12-15 with mandatory check-in at Kaw Point Park on July 11 between noon and 8pm.

Here are some things to know.

The MR340 is Missouri River Relief’s biggest fundraising event of the year!  We are so excited to bring you this event as part of our portfolio of river activities including cleanups, education and paddling on our beautiful river.  Learn more about our mission at

Please check the roster at

You can use CTRL-F to find your name.  Make sure we've got good information there for you, your partner and your boat.  If it says you need to choose a new number, that's because yours was taken when you signed up.  There are 10,000 number choices between 0001 and 9999 but somehow everyone wants the same 400 numbers.  Choose another number and use CTRL-F to see if it's already gone.  Send your choice to You need these numbers on both sides of your bow.  Please use numbers at least 3 inches high and reflective.  Mailbox numbers work great and meet both criteria.

You should also start working on navigation lights for your boat. These are required. Red and Green at the bow and a White light at your stern. Our race sponsor Some Beach Outfitters carries these lights, which you can also find on Amazon and elsewhere -

They are waterproof, last 100 hours and pretty darn bright.  Make sure you set them for steady on, not blinking.  And you'll want to tape off the portions that shine toward you.  You want them visible from 360 degrees around your boat, but you won't want them shining on you, including the one behind you which will light up your paddle and hurt your night vision.

These are relatively cheap and last forever.  Don't scrimp on your lights!  It's one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself safe out there.

Here's a good video about navigation lights on the MR340

Your boat can be staged at the park on the 11th when you check in.  We will patrol the park all night but we are not responsible for any damage or loss of boat.  Make sure you leave boat only and no paddles or gear.  It will make the next morning much easier.

There are some early season races in the area that can get you out on the river so you can see what you need to work on and look at how other folks have rigged their boats.  Check these out:
April 9: Perche Creek Gut-Buster (10 miles) email Charlie at
April 16: Mean Lamine (13.4 miles)
May 21: RPC3 Shootout (51 miles)
June 18: Freedom Race (60 miles)

You don't have to reinvent the single blade.  Literally 1000s of folks have taken on this challenge and refined the art of finishing.  Better to learn from mistakes before you even leave your couch.  Here's a place filled with links to resources that will keep you unproductive at work for weeks!

●      Rivermiles MR340 Resources -
●      Pay special attention to this youtube channel where Chris Luedke has years of great videos to shorten the learning curve.
●      Also, Chris has been hosting webinars with veteran paddlers called MR340 LIVE, which you can check out here -
●      "MR340 First Time Finisher" - This book by racer Steve Jackson was written in  2013, so some of the race details are out of date. But it has tons of timeless advice on training, preparing, gearing up and strategies for finishing your first time in the race -

Our Facebook group is over 8000 strong.  A great community of racers who share news about training runs on the river, gear for sale, ground crew information, shuttle opportunities, etc.  Ask a question and you'll get an answer FAST.  It's also where our sponsors can share info on sales and promotions.

Checkpoints and Cutoff Times:


1. Kaw Point, mile 367.5, Race Begins Tuesday, July 12.  7am solos, 8am everything else.  All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on July 11 at packet pickup between noon and 8pm.

2. Waverly, mile 293.5, (74 miles) 800pm Tuesday  Leg avg. (5.69mph for solos, 6.17mph tandems)

3. Glasgow, mile 226, (68 miles) 4pm Wed.  Leg avg. 3.4mph  (assumes Waverly departure of 8pm Tuesday)


4. Jefferson City, mile 144, (82 miles) 4pm Thurs.  Leg avg. 3.42mph (assumes Glasgow departure of 4pm Wednesday)

5. Hermann, mile 98, (46 miles) 8am Friday  Leg avg. 2.88mph (assumes Jeff City departure of 4pm Thursday)

6. Klondike, mile 56 (42 miles) 4pm Friday  Leg avg. 5.25mph   

7. St. Charles, mile 29, finish line, (27 miles)  9pm Friday  Leg avg. 5.4mph

Total of 85 Hours for 8am start (4mph) 86 for 7am start.  (3.95mph)

You have control over your destiny via training and preparation.  Efficient paddling is crucial for those first 74 miles.  Minimize wasted time.  Stay in the fast water.  Stay in the boat.  Draft when possible.  Travel as light as possible.  Keep yourself in your boat and your paddle in the water.

After Waverly, the cutoff times get easier because we assume short stops at the checkpoints and continued commitment to the Stay In The Boat philosophy.  By Glasgow, most paddlers have enough time banked up that they aren't worried about cutoff times anymore.

The Reaper is one of our safety boats.  But she has a specialized mission and that's to run at exactly the pace that a paddler would need to run to BARELY make the cutoff times at each checkpoint.  So the Reaper is a visual on the water of where the cutoff line is at it approaches a checkpoint. 

If the Reaper beats you to Waverly, you are out.  If it beats you to any checkpoint, you are out.  IF it passes you before a checkpoint but then you pass it back, you're fine.  All that matters is that you beat her to the checkpoint.  She'll be running the approximate MPH as indicated on the checkpoint chart above.  And arrives precisely at the cutoff. Keep in mind - if the Reaper is flying the skull & crossbones flag, it’s “reaping”, if not, it may be on another safety boat mission. is about the reaper.

Firstly, you are not required to stop anywhere.  Just to check in as you pass. 
You are only required to check in at the checkpoints.  Paddlestops are just places we've got volunteers and safety boats if needed.  And sometimes food.
Check ins are done only at checkpoints and done only by phone.  We use RaceOwl, developed and maintained by the great Jon Marble.

We will explain more about Race Owl in the next Dispatch.

●      Every boat must have a ground crew.
●      Your ground crew may be physically present (preferred) or Virtual.

A physically present ground crew is pretty obvious.  They are following you by road ramp to ramp and meeting your resupply needs.  They can watch your progress on RaceOwl and know down to the minute when you will likely be at the next landing.  If you are exceptionally late to a meeting, they would know to alert one of our safety boats and we could check on you if needed.   

Ground crews tend to have fun and enjoy the experience.  It's an adventure for them too!  Sleep deprivation, boy scout hot dogs, pit toilets, they get the whole experience.  If you don't have a physical ground crew yet, work on getting one!

Virtual ground crew means they aren't actually there to meet you, but they are tracking your remotely.  This is important because they would alert us if you were late to a planned arrival.  We wouldn't know anything was amiss until the checkpoint closed.  But your VGC would know because they would be paying attention to RaceOwl or you would be texting them routinely saying "We plan to be at Hermann by midnight, will text you then" and if they didn't hear from you by, say, 2am, they could let us know that you may be having trouble upstream. 

Get your ground crew and get them trained up on RaceOwl, texting in, etc.  It will pay off!

We strive to have concessions at all the checkpoints and most paddlestops.  For the most part, these are non-profit groups that depend on the 340 for a big chunk of their annual fundraising.  Here's our list so far.

Lexington (Paddlestop)
Boy scout grill

Waverly (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill at both ramps

Miami (Paddlestop)
Community fundraiser grill

Dalton Bottoms (Paddlestop – newly reopened!)
No food vendor, but safety boat will be available

Glasgow (Checkpoint)
Fresh On The Go food truck

Franklin Island (Paddlestop)
Pending – food will be available

Cooper's Landing (Paddlestop)
Cooper's will be selling food and drink throughout to paddlers and spectators

Jefferson City (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

Hermann (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

New Haven (Paddlestop)

Klondike (Checkpoint)
Free Food from The Nature Conservancy

Finish Line (Checkpoint)
Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Schlafly Brewery and Athletic Brewing

PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
These are required by our Coast Guard Permit and must be worn on the water at all times subject to time penalty and disqualification.  Find one that is comfortable and functional.  They don't have to be expensive.  The kind they make for fishing are remarkably handy and allow for lots of movement (like casting a pole or a paddle) and have cool little pockets in front for sunscreen or lip balm, etc.  Treat YO Self.

Our Safety boats will be checking for PFDs. We know that some of you wear low-profile inflatable PFDs that we can’t see from a distance. If we ask, please graciously let us know you have an inflatable.

Medals and trophies are awarded to you as you finish. BUT you are all invited to our Finish Line Party sponsored by Big Muddy Adventures & Schlafly Brewing at the Lewis & Clark Boathouse.  There will be food and beer available as well as live music. The Party is sponsored by Terrain Magazine and Schlafly Brewing.

We will be recognizing all podium (1st -3rd) finishers live on the music stage between songs.  So it should be a great time!  The music starts at 6pm and trophies soon after during music breaks.  Beer will be cold and plentiful.  As well as the famous Lewis And Clark Boathouse hard lemonades! This was such a blast last year!  Plan to be there and celebrate!

This is just the beginning of the information fire hose aimed squarely at you.  But we'll let you digest all those links and videos and gain some skeletal background first before we flesh out the muscular details.  If you're a rookie, fear not!  We were all once rookies and we're still here.  You'll do great.  Welcome to the family!  And if you're a veteran, well, we knew you'd be back.  We told you.  And we're looking forward to seeing you again!

In the meantime, send your questions to and we'll get you squared away. 

Shameless plug:

100% of purchases go to Missouri River Relief operations!

Your Race Manager,
Christina Ruiz

Hello Paddlers –

We are just a few days out. We know you are obsessing about if you have enough or the right gear and thinking about how your next week is going to go. We are doing the same here at Race Headquarters! Plus we’ve been obsessing about rain. More about that in a second.

This dispatch includes some of our last updates on the race and a few reminders. We do recommend that you read and re-read the previous dispatches (  as well. There’s a lot to know to do this race and those dispatches are a great source for good info. Share with your ground crews!


The river remains high but the latest river projections from Friday morning show the river staying below flood stage throughout the race course. We believe that we are in the clear. If anything does change we will spread the word quickly. No rain is currently forecast for the week of the race although that can always change and you should be prepared for rain. You can monitor all the river forecasts here -


All racers MUST check in at Kaw Point on Monday, July 19 between noon and 8pm.  You may also drop off your boat on the lower level.  No electronics or expensive stuff, please.

Be sure to have watched the safety video before arriving.

Save time and pre-print and sign your waiver here:

We will have extra waivers as well.

Parking at Kaw Point on Tuesday morning will be very tight.  NO TRAILERS or RVS will be allowed inside the park after 5am or when trailer parking is full.  There will be limited trailer/rv parking along the curb of the property leading into the park.  When that is full, all trailer/rvs will be circled around and sent to find parking back up the hill towards the hotel.  Familiarize yourself with the area of 5th and Armstrong and the parking there as well as the easy walk down to the park from there.  Read Dispatch 5 for more details on this.

When all spots are full, all vehicles will be turned around and sent back up the hill. 


Solos start at 7 a.m. All other boats at 8 a.m.

You must be upstream of an imaginary line directly across the river from the boat ramp at race start.


These boat ramps are handy between Kaw Point and Waverly:

La Benite – MM 352.6 Pit Toilets. No Water.

Cooley Lake
 – MM 341.2 No Amenities

Ft. Osage/Sibley – MM 337.2 – No Amenities. Very limited space for parking.

Napoleon – MM 328.6 - Parking at Napoleon is very limited this year. The ramp is located on Corps of Engineers property. They are doing some repairs on their parking lot and the gate onto the property will be accessible by pedestrians only. Parking in the grass in the park just upstream of the ramp will be allowed. If you very carefully park and double park 30 cars max can park there. DO NOT park on rock ballast next to train tracks. Be VERY careful around train tracks. In the past some people have parked on the side of the highway. Again, please be very careful. Napoleon will be very tight this year.

The Corps building at Napoleon will be open for people to use the bathrooms and there is water available outside.

Lexington – MM 316.4 - Pit Toilets, Food from a local boy scout troop! Parking lot is pretty big.

And here’s info on some of the remaining boat ramps.

Waverly - MM 293.5:  CHECKPOINT Two ramps – one upstream and one downstream of bridge.  Both have food/toilets.  Please be very careful around the railroad tracks! There are no gates on the railroad tracks. Cutoff time is 8pm to pass the plane of the ramp before the Reaper.

Hills Island - MM 281.5: NO VEHICLE ACCESS.   Only boats can get there.  11 miles downstream of Waverly if you need a break.  Safety boat will be there all night.

Miami - MM 262.9: Great food.  Very Crowded parking.  Expect ground crew to have to walk on gravel road to park.

Dalton Bottoms - MM 239.1:  NO ROAD ACCESS.  But a ramp and a way to get off the river and up to a flat area for rest.  We will start the night with a safety boat here.

Glasgow - MM 226.2:   CHECKPOINT Food and pit toilet right by ramp. Bathrooms with water and shower are a short walk. Town with all the amenities is a short walk.

Franklin Island - MM 195.2:  The road to Franklin Island reopened last night!  Food will be available compliments of Trevor Tilton Insurance/Mortgage Services and distributed by Missouri River Relief volunteers.  Toilets available.

Katfish Katy's
 - MM 180.2:  Breaking News – The gate to the boat ramp will be open! Enter at the restaurant and drive to the back of the parking lot. Go through that gate and a gravel road will take you to the ramp. Stay on the gravel…the mud can be treacherous down there. The ramp will have porta-potties and may have some water. This ramp will not be staffed by volunteers but we will often have a safety boat there and it is a good place for ground crews to meet their paddlers and avoid the very crowded parking at Cooper’s Landing. Please do not leave your boats on the ramp. This is a private ramp and they are allowing us to use it. Please respect other local boaters that pay to use the ramp.

The restaurant will be open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. They may stay open later if there are people still coming by. Great food.

Cooper's Landing - MM 170.2:  Food trucks and MoRivCC volunteers will have food.  Parking will be very busy here, Expect to walk on gravel for parking.  If you are coming from Katfish Katy’s, there is a very obvious detour from Route K to Old Plank Rd. If you are coming from Columbia, the normal way to get there is closed. We have a PDF with recommended directions. Google maps should reroute you.
-Coopers-Landing.pdf. At the levels we are expecting for the race it can be difficult to land at this ramp. You will need to go slightly past the ramp to avoid wing dike then paddle hard up to ramp to avoid the dock and boats tied up to the dock.

Hartsburg - MM 160 – No amenities.

Jefferson City, Wilson’s Serenity Point at Noren Access - MM 144:  CHECKPOINT Food!  Missouri American Water will have water onsite. Sponsor UST Gear will be helping at ramp. The “beach” that is present some years downstream of the ramp some years is pretty much nonexistent. Will most likely need to land on the ramp. There is a wing dike on upstream side of ramp that will likely be underwater. Please limit parking to the marked spaces in the parking lot and on the side of the road to the parking lot.  Road from the parking lot to the ramp is for motor boat launching only – No Support vehicles allowed.  Paddlers be aware – there is a construction barge tied to one of the bridge pilings.

Mokane - MM 124.7 - no amenities

Chamois - MM 117.9– Bathrooms and showers nearby.

Hermann - MM 97.7:  CHECKPOINT  Food!  Town is right there!  Water and bathrooms at pavilion. There are two boat ramps right next to each other with a peninsula that juts out into the river between them. With expected higher water, that peninsula can be underwater and creating pretty crazy water extending out into the river. Racers are welcome to land on upper ramp then portage to the lower ramp to put in and avoid that. If you are passing by or plan on landing on lower ramp, give that peninsula plenty of room.

New Haven - MM 81.4:  Local BBQ restaurant is planning to have food from 11-4 on Thursday and Friday. Bathrooms a short walk.

Washington - MM 68.3:  Easy access to town.  Ramp can be tough to land at during high water.  Plan ahead for your landing.

Klondike - MM 56.3: CHECKPOINT  Food available courtesy of sponsor The Nature Conservancy.  Last stop before the finish!

FINISH LINE at Lewis & Clark Boathouse - MM 28.9:  Please land near the boat ramp just downstream of Boathouse Museum building.  An official finish is recorded when the nose of your boat hits the mud anywhere within 20 feet of either side of the concrete boat ramp. 


We'll be partying all week at the finish line with great beer, margaritas and hard lemonade sold starting Thursday!  On Friday, it really gets going with live music by Hazard To Ya Booty starting at 6pm and awards recognition for all podium finishers at 7pm!  Followed by more music! Try to make it!

This party is sponsored by Schlafly Brewing, Big Muddy Adventures, Terrain Magazine with huge help from Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Museum.


Reports from all along the race course about mosquitoes are intense. Worst year in recent memory for many locations. Both racers and ground crews need to be prepared. As long as you are on the river you should be fine. On land…not so much.


MR340 Resources page, with links to RaceOwl, course map, dispatches and much more. –

Mandatory Safety Video –

Course Map –

Facebook Group –

Waiver (print, sign and bring to Check-In) -

MR340 Live Webinars -

"How to RaceOwl" Webinar (race tracking) -

We can't wait to see you at Kaw Point!

Be safe and stay pumped!

Scott Mansker and Steve Schnarr

Hello MR340 family!

The days have narrowed to just a few.  Time to pull all those threads together into a rope and start pulling for St. Charles. 

We've addressed so many details in previous dispatches, you should definitely go back through and read them to make sure you've checked your boxes.  I go through both some new and old stuff here, but certainly not everything. 

Also, it's really important that your ground crew also reads these dispatches. There's a lot of stuff in here that is directed to them. They play such an important role in this race and there's a lot for them to know!

You are required to watch it and you're responsible for all the information within.  Here's the link if you've misplaced it.

For "nickname" please put your boat number and last name.  If you're not racing but just curious, you can put "ground crew" or "just curious". 

Thanks again to Chris Luedke for creating this for the second year in a row.  It is very well done and much appreciated!  Thank Chris when you see him out on the river IF you can catch him.

July 19th, Kaw Point Park, noon to 8pm.

If you arrive early, great!  We need help setting everything up! 

Be sure to print and fill out and bring this waiver with you.  Click here -

This is the second year for the outdoor Check-in.  We're hoping to be lucky again with the weather.  We’ll also be joined by several of our sponsors who will have booths with info, equipment, some great raffles and more.

The entire Check-In process, start to finish, should only take you about 10 minutes.  You'll move station to station, get your shirt and you'll finish by performing your first "Check IN" of the race at the RaceOwl table.  So be sure to have your phone there with whatever app you prefer to use.  Here are the two easiest and most used:

Another cool app for the race is MR340 ProPaddler.  This costs a few bucks but includes a map that makes staying in the channel and night paddling a breeze.  It can also be rigged for automatic check in as you pass checkpoints.  But still a good idea to have one of the other apps installed as well as a backup. 

You can practice using these apps now if you have them.  But once you check-in at Kaw Point it will be pretty easy to do it again the next day at Waverly. 

Again, here are the Mandatory Checkpoints and cutoff times -

Kaw Point Park anytime between noon and 8pm, a volunteer will watch you perform your first check in successfully.

Waverly, mile 293.5 (74 miles)  8pm Tuesday.

Glasgow, mile 226 (68 miles) 4pm Wednesday

Jefferson City, mile 144  (82 miles)  4pm Thursday

Hermann, mile 88 (56 miles) 8am Friday
Klondike, mile 56 (42 miles) 4pm Friday
Finish Line, mile 29 (27 miles) 9pm Friday (volunteers will check everyone in here)

These are the only places you will check-in.  But there are many other access points where you might choose to meet your ground crew or take a break.

What you should do now, is research with your ground crew where these places are so you're both on the same page about what options lie ahead as you're leaving a ramp. 

Before the race you pretty much just need to know where you plan to connect on day 1.  The rest you can figure out later.  But leaving Kaw Point, have a plan where you want to meet day 1.  You'll probably want to meet at least twice between Kaw Point and Glasgow.  So you might choose Lexington and Miami.  Or Napoleon and Waverly.  Or Lexington and Waverly. 

It really depends on your strategy and what portion of that 140 mile trip from Kaw Point to Glasgow you will run in daylight vs. night.  It also depends if your ground crew is physical or virtual.  If you don't have a ground crew meeting you, you'll have to stop for food and drink at ramps that will be selling it. 

Between Kaw Point and Glasgow, these will have food:
Waverly (both ramps)

So plan accordingly.  But with a ground crew, you can take advantage of some of the ramps before Lexington:
La Benite
Cooley Lake
Ft. Osage

Remember that even if you choose not to stop at Waverly, you MUST check in as you pass the ramp there.  You can do it from your boat or your ground crew can do it from shore if they are 100% sure they see you.  This is the same for all checkpoints, all the way to St. Charles.

This will be the biggest 340 ever by about 50 boats.  So Kaw Point will be very crowded.  Last year several people were turned away because the parking was full.  This will probably happen again.  So plan ahead. 

We probably have about 500 parking spaces available total.  That's one per boat!  But it never works out that way.  Some spots go unused due to poor parking.  Some folks have trailers or RVS that take up multiple spaces.  Fire department is there, volunteers are there, sponsors are there, etc.  So some of you won't make the cut.  So think ahead and nobody is unprepared.

First, most folks will leave their boats at Kaw Point during registration.  I'd say about 80% do this.  So there will be close to 400 boats there.  Please don't leave electronics, paddles, etc.  Just the boat.  And this is at your own risk because anything is possible including accidental damage from someone tripping, etc.  But I'm unaware of any past problems.  We will be there all night working and keeping an eye on the place.  And the park closes at 10pm to the public.  So access will be limited.

Second, arrive early.  If you are part of the 7am start, consider arriving at 5am.  You'll likely be assured of a spot and it will be one less thing to worry about. 

Third, be prepared to walk.  Not everyone will get primo parking.  Some of the spots are over a quarter of a mile away from the entrance.  You'll be glad your boat is already in there.  All you need is your paddle and whatever load out you are starting with.  This is where your ground crew collapsible wagon will come in handy.  And your ground crew will be making long walks to boat ramps for day 1 and day 2 until the crowding dies down so this is a good chance to test the walking shoes.

Fourth, please listen and cooperate with our VOLUNTEER parking attendants.  Who have gotten up at 330am to help this event succeed.  If they give you directions, please say "thank you ma'am" and do what she says!

Fifth, no trailers or rvs will be allowed in the park on Tuesday, the morning of the race.  I take that back.  There's room for about 20 trailers or RVs to park in a very few designated spots inside the park.  But once those are full, all trailers and RVs will be parked along the long curb that stretches from the stoplight to the floodwall entrance.  Once this parking is full, trailers and RVs will be looped around and back out to the stoplight.  THEN, you can park anywhere there is legal parking up by the hotel. 

There's a large public lot across from the Hilton Garden Inn at 5th and Minnesota where many of you are staying.  There are also street parking spots along many of the streets in the area.  AND there's a trail that runs from that parking right into the park.  Roughly at 4th and Armstrong is where the trail picks up.  AND there's a small lot at the head of this trail that holds about 20 cars. 

SO if you're dead set on getting a trailer or RV down near the park, you better get there extremely early.  BUT I would avoid bringing that mess into the parking chaos.  Better to park at the hotel lot (across from the hotel) and walk in.

SO you have many, many options for getting your human body and the gear you need down to Kaw Point and onto the water.

If you're staying in the hotel and you're an 8am start, I would seriously consider just walking down.  The 7am crowd will take up most of the room.  Traffic will already be backed up.  You'll be stressed and nervous already and the last thing you want to do is fight traffic and possibly just end up getting looped back to find parking near the hotel. 

But imagine just strolling down the sidewalk, pulling a small wagon with your stuff.  Sipping some hotel coffee.  Your ground crew vehicle safe up in the hotel parking lot.  You stroll in, load your boat, laugh at the stressed out people who are stuck on Fairfax Trafficway waiting in line.  You and your partner pick up your boat and jump in line at the ramp, easy as can be.  Your ground crew can now find a good place to watch the start.  Then leisurely stroll back up the trail.  Heck, you've still got the room until 11am.  They can take a nap before they have to hit the highway and meet you 6-7 hours later. 

AND, even if you aren't staying in the hotel, you can still park in that public lot across the street and enjoy the walk.  It's downhill! It's 15 minutes.  You'll beat all the people driving. 

GOOGLE the intersection of 5th and Armstrong Avenue in Kansas City, KS.  To the west, you'll see the large parking area around the Merc Co-op grocery store.  To the east, at 4th and Armstrong, you'll see the start of the Riverfront Heritage Trail.  You got this.

Is 8pm.  On the dot.  The Reaper will pass the upstream ramp at 8pm precisely.  The crew of the Reaper will have already spoken with every boat that is behind them as they passed them in the previous hours.  They will have warned you that you need to speed up in order to make the cutoff.  They will have slowly faded into the distance.   At first, there was denial.  Then, slowly, acceptance.  You've notified your ground crew that you will unlikely be able to catch back up and beat the Reaper.  The unrelenting, but very slow, Reaper.

Do whatever you can to stay ahead.  It's much easier to stay ahead of the Reaper than it is to catch back up.  Keep your stop short between Kaw Point and Waverly.  Keep in the fast water.  Keep your paddle wet.  You will make it.  This is the hardest one. 

By my calculations, I've been involved in about 50 MR340 "nights" over the years.  For those of you questioning my math, remember, back in the 100 hour days, we had 4 nights out there.

Anyway, 50 nights, give or take.  Of those 50, I'd estimate I dealt with fog maybe a total of 8-10  nights?   So 15-20% of the nights.  And some of those were light and never fully socked in.  And a few were brutally thick and we pulled over for a few hours and waited it out.  Paddling in the fog is very unwise. Our safety boats will not be moving in thick fog. But there might be barges moving or local fishermen checking their trotlines. They will be unable to see you. Even staying within sight of the bank can be dangerous as there can be barges tied up on the bank you cannot see. By the time you see them you are cruising at 6 mph right into their raked bow. If there’s fog, just pull over and take that opportunity to rest.

Similar story with storms.  There have been some humdingers.  But thankfully rare.  The big ones?  I can only think of 4 that I would describe as significant, memorable events.  4 in 15 years.

But we had lots of warning with all 4.  A good hour at least of lightning flashing on the horizon before it hit.  A whole day of weather reports saying that thunderstorms were likely that night.  We knew it was coming and most of us were off the water for it. 

Be weather aware.  Have your ground crew update you on the expected weather.  Ask the safety boats at a ramp if they know the weather for that night.  Always carry enough stuff as you leave a ramp at sunset that you could spend the night out in the wild if you had to because of fog or other weather.  Have the means to start a fire if you're wet and cold and shivering.  Have a rain jacket.  Some dry clothes.  A simple tarp could be the difference between a miserable night and a decent one. 

Required.  Period.  Must be worn as designed.  Inflatables qualify but I've seen them fail to deploy when tested.  Make sure they work and you know how to use them.  Our safety boats are instructed to ask you to put on a PFD if they see you without one and to record the time and your boat number and text it to race officials.  If we see a pattern of more than one instance sent by a safety boat there will be a time penalty imposed on the boat.  If officials deem it was intentional flouting of the rule then a disqualification will be imposed. 

It's part of our Coast Guard permit.  It's part of our insurance requirements.  The ongoing success of the race depends on all of us wearing our PFD.  Thank you for doing it!  If you are wearing a belt or inflatable PFD that our safety boats can’t see, they will likely ask you about it several times. Please be patient and understanding!

The latest food sources:
Waverly (both ramps)
Franklin Island (this access is currently closed to cars due to flood damage but we are hoping it will be open. Updates to follow.)
Cooper's Landing
Jefferson City

This list is important for those without a physical ground crew.  Less so for ground crewed racers.  Please remember, if you run out of liquids between checkpoints you can absolutely flag down a safety boat and borrow from them.  Or, in an emergency, borrow from a fellow paddler. 

1.      Ground Crews – if you are going to Columbia before heading to Cooper’s Landing, there is a road closure at the intersection of Route K and Old Plank Road that will require a detour.

Click here for a PDF that explains the recommended detour.

If you are going straight to Cooper’s Landing from Midway or through Huntsdale or McBaine, there is an easy and obvious detour.

...was destroyed by flooding in 2019.  It is still destroyed.  You cannot get in there by car.  However, there is a boat ramp there.  So, we place a safety boat there on night one to split up the lonely miles between Miami (mm263) and Glasgow (mm226)  Dalton is nestled sweetly in between about mm239.

It is not pretty.  But if you are on that leg in the night and need someplace to exit the river because of fog or weather or you just want to hear a friendly voice, there will be a boat there.  Now, they may get deployed to go help someone and so they might be gone... but they will be there to start the night.  And even if they aren't there, the ramp will be there.  And maybe a few paddlers.  I think last year they had about 5 customers stop and visit.

Especially important from KC to Glasgow when we're pretty clumped up... we have to manage traffic on the ramp.  There is a steady stream of boats trying to land at Waverly, Miami and Glasgow... So be quick to exit your boat and then carry it up the ramp so the next boat can land.  Once you're up and out of the way you can work on your boat, resupply etc. 

Ramps also need to be open for access by local recreational boaters and, most importantly, emergency response teams. We share the river and ramps with lots of other people, many of which consider their local ramp to be their backyard. We can help build goodwill amongst the river community by being respectful and not hogging the ramp. We know…you’re exhausted, you think you’ll only stop for five minutes or whatever… but there’s too many of us to leave boats in the middle of the ramp or blocking the trailer back-in lanes.

This area is unique in that the parking lot is not overlooking the river but is set back a bit.  Please park in the lot and carry what you need to the park.  Cars cannot drive up to the ramp.  The ramp approach is for fishermen to turn around and back down the ramp.  We cannot block this.  Nor can we block with vehicles or canoes, any access by folks trying to launch boats.  This might sound confusing.  Don't worry about it.  It's just a common sense thing once you're out there. Park in marked parking areas or along the road on the way in leaving space for passing.  Don't clog roads that lead to the ramp.  Walk from marked parking spots.

You'll receive medals or trophies from volunteers as you land.  There will be beer, margaritas and food for sale as a fundraiser on Thursday AND Friday. There will be a celebration concert on Friday evening with live music and a recognition of all trophy winners during the concert.  If you can stay for that, great!  If you have to get back home we understand.  But it will be a blast.  Special thanks to Terrain Magazine, Big Muddy Adventures, Schlafly Brewing and The Lewis and Clark Boathouse for throwing this bash.

Friday's festivities will start at 6pm and go until 9pm. Trophy recognitions will start at 7 pm.

We have two webinars coming up with some last-minute details:

Safety Webinar with Scott Mansker and Steve Schnarr, Monday July 12 at 6:30 pm (CST) – This is not a substitute for the MANDATORY safety video linked above. Register on Zoom here -

Raceowl Webinar with Jon Marble, Wednesday, July 14 at 6:30 pm (CST) – Find out how to use the RaceOwl app and website to track racers and more. Register on Zoom here -

And you can watch all the previous webinars here (and find links for streaming live on YouTube) -

Let us know what questions you have as we approach!  See everyone soon!

Scott Mansker, Race Director

Remain calm.  But the race is NEXT MONTH.

We're dialing things in on our end and hopefully you are too!  Plenty of time remains to get you and your ground crew ready for this adventure.  River levels look very friendly with lots of shoreline and sandbars currently above the water.  Hopefully, you are getting some time in your boat and building up some stamina and calluses.  And hopefully you're able to do some planning with your ground crew, whether they are physical or virtual, so that you've got a good plan A, B and C for day 1. 

Below is a list of stuff you may be on top of already.  If not, here's a handy to do list for the next couple of weeks. 

1. Boat number:  Please check the roster here:
Verify that you have a valid boat number.  If it says you need a new one, that means you chose one that was already taken.  Send a new boat number choice.  You can use CTRL-F to search the page for boat numbers that are taken.  Ideally, the numbers should be minimum 3 inches high and reflective.  The kind of numbers you can buy for your mailbox are perfect. 

2. Reflective tape:  Make sure your boat has reflective tape.  Most commercially produced boats come with this.  Shine a flashlight on your boat in a dark garage and you'll see it.  If not, get some and place it along the boat so you're easy to see by fishermen, towboats, etc.  Also a good idea to put some around the shaft of your paddle in case you drop it in the water and need to spot it in the dark. 

3. Get a Ground Crew:  Everyone is required to have a ground crew.  You listed one when you registered.  They can either be physically present during the race or virtual.  A physical ground crew is obviously better and can help you finish by supplying you at checkpoints and keeping an eye on your condition.  A virtual ground crew's primary job is to simply track you and make sure you are staying in contact with them on a pre-planned basis.  If they lose track of you they must contact us to say they are concerned.  Your job is to make sure they never get concerned. 

4. WEAR YOUR PFD:  PFD is required to be worn at ALL TIMES while in your boat.  No Exceptions.  Safety boats can document infractions with cell phone photos and send them to the race director.  Time penalties will be added to final results.  You can wear inflatables but beware that these often fail to deploy if not worn properly.  Please test your inflatable prior to the race.  A good, regular PFD will have handy pockets in front and be comfortable.  It will also save your life. 

5. Navigation Lights:  Required on all boats.  Red/green on bow.  White on stern.  These are perfect and are carried by one of our awesome sponsors!  They run for 100 hours on a single battery.  Can be attached simply with velcro to any boat.  Use black tape to tape off the portion that shines towards the paddler.  Make sure you are visible from 360 degrees.  There should be no angle where fewer than two lights are visible.  Set them to be steady on.. not blinking. 

6. Strong Flashlight:  A strong flashlight in your boat is essential at night.  You can use it to shine up ahead and see what that noise is.  Or to just turn on inside your kayak turning the whole boat into a glow stick if you're worried that fisherman can't see you.  Or to signal a safety boat if you're pulled over and need help.

7. Rain gear/extra clothes:  Assume you will either get rained on or otherwise cold at night.  The steady drain of energy and calories can bite you at night and you can start to shiver.  Simply putting on a rain shell under your PFD can reverse this immediately.  Also, every boat must carry a foil "space" blanket per paddler for emergency warming. 

8. Cell phone:  Every boat must have at least one functional cell phone an a means of keeping it charged.  This is your lifeline.  Figure out how to keep it dry and charged aboard your boat.

9. Secure all gear:  What happens if you flip over?  What will you lose in the dark?  Can you get back in your boat?  What's your plan?

10. Duct Tape: Fix your paddle.  Fix a small hole in your boat.  Tape up your hands. For boat fixes consider taking it up a notch with having a stash of waterproof Flex Tape -

11. Bring a lighter.  Almost no weight penalty.  Can start a fire.  Your ancestors would be so jealous.

12. Some kind of footwear:  Many folks end up barefoot and that's fine.  But if you have to walk out of a situation it might be hundreds of yards to a road and then 5 miles until you find a house.  Some sort of shoes stashed somewhere on your boat is important. 

13.  A whistle is required equipment per our insurance.  Attach to your pfd.  This can help us find you in the dark.

14.  While we're attaching things to your PFD, a small button flashlight or other way to signal is important.  Imagine separation from boat in the dark and you've swam to shore.  All you have is what's on your PFD.  So you've got a whistle and the flashlight or a chemical light to get the attention of a passing safety boat or fellow paddler. 

15. Bring some cash:  Especially important for the unsupported paddler.  We have been able to get food vendors at every checkpoint and even some non checkpoints.  These are usually local civic groups or boy scout troops raising money.  You can eat pretty good at one of these food stands for $5-$10.  Here are the places that we have food organized:

Franklin Island
Cooper's Landing
Jefferson City
Finish Line

Please support these fine folks.  If they don't make any money, they won't come back.  Some of these same boy scout troops have been serving pancakes or burgers to paddlers for 13+ years.  Some of these scouts weren't even born when we did the first MR340.  Help them out if you can. 

In a pinch, if you're out of food or water, ask a safety boat.  There is no penalty for getting a drink from a safety boat.  They will share what they have.

16. Plan with ground crew now:  Sit down and look at a map and start coming up with plan A, B and C for days 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Nobody sticks to plan A but you have to have one so you can throw it away.  Your plan A will be where you optimally will meet, what you will want to eat at each stop, etc.  If your crew is virtual, make sure you develop a plan like "I will text you at every stop and will tell you what my estimated time is at the next stop"  A good ground crew will be keeping tabs on the weather for you... and also any news about barges, etc.  Here's a nice little planning map put together by Steve Schnarr of River Relief!

17. Watch the weather:  If storms are possible, grab what you might need from ground crew.  Do you need a small tent?  Do you need extra clothes?  Is it smarter to wait at a checkpoint and catch some sleep?  If you are paddling and see distant lightning, start thinking about where you will pull off.  Once a storm unleashes with wind, whitecaps, lightning and pouring rain, it's too late to pull're fighting to just keep the boat upright.  Better to be a half hour early pulling off than a half minute late.

18. DON'T Paddle In FOG:  There are spots along the course that almost always fog up every year.  It doesn't matter what fancy equipment you have or what GPS... fog is dangerous.  Your GPS doesn't know if there's a barge or a dredge dead ahead.  It's not worth it.  Budget time for fog.  If you start seeing the little wisps of fog dancing on the water, it's time to pull over.  Pull out your foil blanket and get some sleep!

19. Make sure your boat is visible if on shore:  If you pull over to sleep, please don't pull your boat up into the trees.  Leave it where a safety boat can see it from the river.  This is especially true at the back of the pack where the sweep boat is making sure no boat gets left behind.  At night, go ahead and leave your nav lights on if possible. 

20.  Thumbs Up:  If a safety boat is checking on you when pulled over or just drifting, they may just issue you a thumbs up.  This is actually a question from them...Are you good?  We're looking for you to return the thumbs up.  This is instead of getting close enough to yell "Are you good?"  99% of the time, ya good.  But sometimes there's a problem.  If you need us, just wave your arms which means we need to talk. 

21. Proceed as the way opens: There will be roadblocks that stop you and there will be opportunities for easy miles.  Don't beat you head against a wall but also, don't turn down the gifts that will come.  If your plan A was to sleep on night 2 from midnight to 5am, but you're feeling great at midnight and the moon is beautiful and you're with a good group of people...keep going!  By the same token if your plan was to paddle night 2 but there's rain and thunder, climb in the tent and let the beautiful sleep wash over you.  It will pay off later.

22. Use the river to stay cool: Heat stroke knocks folks out every year.  Especially day 1.  It will very possibly be in the mid to upper 90s with brutal heat indexes.  BUT, the water in the river will be around 80 degrees.  Dip your hat in it.  Dip your sponge in it.  Use it to help your body stay ahead of things.  At a checkpoint or a sandbar or some SAFE shallow spot with your PFD on, squat in the water up to your neck and really get a reboot. 

23. Stick with a group:  Groups always move faster.  And the miles go easier.  If you latch on with a group of two or three boats you can keep everyone safer and get to St. Charles faster.  AND your ground crews end up travelling together and looking out for each other. 

24. Avoid Death by 1000 Cuts:  For most, there is no one big moment that ends their race.  It's a combination of things that knocks them out.  Sun and heat leads to not drinking enough leads to not eating enough leads to feeling sick leads to dropping out...  Or a bad hand blister leads to over using the other hand leads to a sore shoulder leads to leaning awkwardly leads to lower back tightening leads to dropping out.  Choose your own disaster.  Pay attention to your body and put out those small fires before they become out of control. 

25. How Do You Eat An Elephant?  One bite at a time.  340 miles is a looooong way.  Missouri is a big state and the river is crooked.  But you're not doing it all at once.  You're doing it in 30-50 mile bites.  You're doing it one river bend at a time.  One song at a time.  Sometimes one stroke at a time.  Your boat is this little universe that you control.  It's all you have to worry about.  She'll take care of you.  Just keep her pointed in the right direction and keep her moving.  Keep your body fed, watered and protected.  Eventually, you've gone more miles than you have left to go.  Every 3.4 miles is 1% of the course.  Can you paddle 3.4 miles?  Of course you can.  3.4 miles is nothing.  How about 34 miles?  That's 10% of the course.  You'll do that in the first handful of hours.  There will be lots of small victories that will add up fast.  The veterans will tell you, this is mostly a mental event.  Your brain will tell you to quit more than once.  But your brain is just... you.  You get to decide what it tells you.  You can say to yourself, out loud, I am doing this... I don't get tired... I feel great... I can't believe how good I feel... This is so much better than being at work... I am loving this... Sounds corny, I know... but ask anyone who routinely does ultra distance events... it's proven medicine.  Consider the alternative self talk... This sucks... I can't do this... I hate this... what am I doing out here... how did I think I could finish this... That person, saying those things, is never going to finish.  Yep, you'll be hurting.  But you don't have to amplify that pain.  You don't have to give it a voice. 

67% of folks who start at Kaw Point end up finishing the MR340.  Real things happen out there.  Folks get stomach issues.  Elbows swell up.  Boats get cracked.  This can happen to anyone.  No shame in that.  You lined up and went for it.  Don't push yourself to an ambulance ride.  If your arm is swollen or you can't keep food down it's time to call it.  You're smart and you'll know if that time comes. 

If you're pulling out of the race you must notify race officials!  Tell safety boat or use the DNF feature on the RaceOwl app. 

26. FAMILIARIZE yourself with RACEOWL
RaceOwl is the easy to use tracking website and app system developed and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi-year MR340 Veteran.  With it, you can do all sorts of things and your friends and family can watch your progress.  Here's some instructions from Jon about how to familiarize yourself with the app for tracking and checking in at checkpoints.

RaceOwl provides the safety and status communication system used during the MR340. Some of its features:

·        Broadcast text messages update racers and ground crew on hazards such as barge traffic and incoming weather 

·        Race volunteers monitor the text messaging system to respond to questions and issues 24 hours a day while the race is underway   

·        Checkpoint check-in and check-out is accomplished by use of a RaceOwl app or text messages

·        The RaceOwl website provides up-to-the-minute leaderboard status

·        Racer locations are collected and presented to race watchers on a single website map page

·        Racer split times and estimated checkpoint/paddle stop arrival times are available to ground crews

So you can learn more about how to use the RaceOwl system, we’ve created a series of training materials and opportunities:

1.      Review the training documents available on (

2.      Participate in events that use the RaceOwl system. For example: the Freedom race (June 26) or the MR340 practice event -  (going on now)

3.      Follow the MR340 Facebook page and Rivermiles Forum to learn about upcoming Zoom training meeting(s) and/or webinars.

It is essential that you take time NOW to familiarize yourself and your ground crew with the RaceOwl system.  If you wait until the 340 check-in to start thinking about a communication strategy, then you are going to have issues.

The following are some common strategies used by racers to check in/out and to be tracked down the river for family and friends.

1. ‘Checkpoint plus Tracking’:  (BEST CHOICE)

This maximizes the cool utility of the RaceOwl App and your friends and family (and ground crew) will see you moving down the river. 
You perform the required checkpoint status updates as required by the race and you provide periodic position updates to RaceOwl (aka position pings). RaceOwl then tracks and reports your current position.

This strategy is strongly encouraged because:

·        Safety crews have an approximate current location of each racer

·        Ground crews can know when to expect you at the next checkpoint or paddlestop.

·        Spectators can enjoy tracking racers during the event.

There are two ways to track your position during the race:

·        Use a satellite tracker, such as Garmin InReach or SPOT Tracker. The benefit of using a satellite tracker is that you will have continuous connectivity over the entire race course. However, satellite trackers can be very costly. RaceOwl requires the tracker ID’s be registered with the RaceOwl website. Instructions for registration are included in the RaceOwl training material on the website. Please register your device as soon as possible after the MR340 becomes available on RaceOwl in early July.

·        Use the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android. The RaceOwl app offers the ability to both track the racer and handle the required checkpoint logging. The apps will not be able to send your position when there is no cell service. During these times, the app will save your position pings and then send when service becomes available again. In the newer phones, position pings have minimal impact on battery usage. However, you will still need to have some sort of recharge capability.  Consider a 20k mah charging brick and charge your phone in a shaded dry area (e.g. a water proof electronics box).

2. The NON-Tracking, Check IN/Out at checkpoints strategy: (simple, no tracking, meets checkpoint requirements)

This means you have downloaded a RaceOwl app and you (or your ground crew) check in/out/dnf at checkpoints as you enter or exit.  The apps are available for iOS or android:



Make sure if you have an older version that you update to the latest version for important updates and bug fixes.

There is also an older SMS (text based) version of the checkpoint app available for iOS and Android here:



The older version is no longer maintained and it is missing some of the ‘ease of use’ features from RaceOwl. It is recommended as a backup app if the more advanced version fails for whatever reason.  But it does work and will format the text for the system.  It is simple and SMS based (text based) so it will work in areas when you do not have data.

If you do not have a smart phone you can use your flip phone to text in your checkpoint status to the RaceOwl text in number provided at the safety meeting. The RaceOwl system needs the message formed in a specific way to automatically recognize your status. That format is: ‘[boat number] [checkpoint] [Day] [Time] [status]’. Where status can be in, out, or dnf (did not finish).  An example is: ‘1234 Waverly Tues 4:30PM in’ This strategy is not recommended. This satisfies minimum safety requirements. But, as you grow tired and everything hurts, typing a text becomes exceedingly difficult. Many of the texts will become unreadable by the automated system. In that case, the texts are forwarded to the volunteers. Text message interpretation provides some comic relief but can lead to inaccuracies and un-necessary distractions from other safety critical situations.  So ideally, you'll use one of the free RaceOwl apps to format the text for you on a smart phone.  But if the flip is all you have, that will work.  And you can keep resending the same message and just change the checkpoint and time so that the format stays intact.

If you have any questions, contact RaceOwl at

Remember, your first check in from the RaceOwl app on your phone happens the day before the race at Kaw Point Park between noon and 8pm.  Please come with the app on your phone and if you have questions we can help answer them there.  Once you get that first check in under your belt, the next one isn't until the next day at Waverly.  We'll iron out the questions for you if any.  But if you download the app and play with it a little, you'll catch on quickly.

Download some of the above choices and start familiarizing yourself now.  It sounds daunting if you've never used any of them.  But by playing with them now you'll find that you quickly "get it" and can easily grasp the concept.  And we're here if you have questions!  And there will also be volunteers and safety boats at the ramps to help. 

That's a bunch of stuff to digest for now.  We'll check back in soon with the next dispatch. 

See you July 19th at Kaw Point Park!!

The Race Team

Hello Fellow River Friends,

Hopefully, you've had some time to digest all the great resources we tagged in Dispatch 1.  And for some of you, there were questions answered in there that you didn't even realize you had!  And maybe some new ones born from the avalanche of good stuff.  We're here to help.  This isn't some super secret society of paddlers.  We're an open book and everyone is happy to share and get the new folks up to speed. 

Let's march through what your first 24 hours of this experience might look like.

Monday, July 19 you'll come by Kaw Point Park anytime between noon and 8pm to drop off your waiver and pick up your tshirt and required safety card. We will also have you prove to us that you know how to "Check IN" via phone so your first check in will happen there at Kaw Point the day before the race.  You are also welcome to stage your boat to make the next morning easier for you. We will have a presence at the park from noon on Monday, July 19 up until the 8am start the next day.  We've never had an issue with damage to a boat but this is still at your discretion to leave your boat.  Please do not leave gear or paddles.  Just your boat to make race morning easier for you.

Prior to the race, we will be sharing an Online Safety Meeting and it will be required that all participants and ground crews watch this video.

The morning of the race you'll want to arrive at Kaw Point fairly early ahead of your start time.  The parking lot will fill up fast and we will overflow along the curb of the NorthPoint building outside the floodwall.  We've never had to exceed that.

For the 7am solo start, racers will start launching around 530am.  Everyone thinks they can wait to put in at 645 but that won't work.  A huge line will have formed by 615am and many will not be in the water for the start.  That's no big deal.  If you start a few minutes late you've got lots of time to make that up over the next 340 miles.  But we recommend jumping in the line and getting on the water early.

The boat ramp is the obvious place but there are other ways to get on the water.  Way out at the confluence is the actual "Kaw Point" and you'll find a nice, rocky slope into the river.  There should also be a line of folks launching there.  You can launch anywhere.  Try to be as quick as possible with this.  Have your gear all stashed and just slide in your boat and go hover with the pack.

The official starting line is anywhere upstream of the boat ramp.  There is plenty of room for all of you.  Typically, the Kaw if flowing pretty slowly so you'll have to work just a little to keep your boat above the ramp.

Race will start promptly at 7am unless a storm or fog causes a delay.

Again, Solo racers start at 7 am and all other divisions start at 8 am.

Chris Luedke has a good training video of the morning of the start.

By the way, his channel is FULL of great videos as you should already know!

Your second minor challenge (after launching) is to make the transition from the Kaw to the Missouri River.  The Kaw is usually pretty slack and the Missouri is moving pretty fast on that bend.  When racers crowd too close together we tend to have a boat or two collide and sometimes flip over.  Not a huge deal but an exhausting process for you to put your boat and gear back together and get on your way.

The mouth of the Kaw is quite large and there is plenty of room to put between you and the crowd.  Everyone tends to aim for the middle and that's where the collisions occur.  Consider a couple of options.

1. Choose the road less traveled.  Take the north or south route.  This is slightly slower water and a tad more distance but rarely do any of these folks have trouble.

2. Start the race slow and let the chaos and adrenaline happen in front of you.  Once it subsides you'll have all the room in the world to operate.

Should you flip over, relax.  Stay with your boat and gather your gear best you can.  Hopefully, you made sure everything was secured and you've got your required PFD fitted appropriately.  The Kansas City Fire Department is typically out there with 3 of their swift water rescue teams and they will help square you away.

Your 3rd challenge of the morning will be the gauntlet of bridges just downstream from the start.  You'll negotiate 5 of them in rapid fire.  This is very easy and we've never had anyone get in trouble through there.  But with 300 boats anything can happen.

The water is really fast in this narrow bend and the bridge piers amplify this.  So everything comes at you pretty fast.  You'll want to line up your approach and again make sure you've got room between you and other boats.  Should you end up swimming in this stretch, your priority should still be to move yourself and your boat so that you will not hit a bridge pier.  Your fellow paddlers will help you until the KC Fire Department or one of our safety boats can assist.

But all this will be over in a few minutes.  You'll clear the bridges and settle in to your pace.  The racers will all assume a pretty straight line of boats.  You'll pass a few boats and get passed by a few.  Pretty soon you are in your groove with others who have similar speed.  You might be stuck with some of them for days so make friends.

After about two hours of this, the fastest boats from the 8am start will begin whizzing by you.  This will go on for awhile and is a fun part of the dual start.  Pretty soon these bigger boats will find their spots in the conga line.  If you're a solo with a chance to draft off a heavy tandem or triple, go for it.  You'll see lines of boats bow to stern all drafting. This allows you to use less effort to maintain a similar speed to the boat in front of you. 

Don't wear yourself trying to stay on a draft that is too fast for you.  There's bound to be a tandem that matches your pace and allows you to save a few strokes while maintaining a good cruising speed.

Remember that every boat has a different hull speed and you want to keep your boat at an efficient glide for the race.  If you're trying to push your boat past its efficient hull speed you are wasting a lot of effort with little return.  As you prepare for the race, find your sweet spot where the boat is most efficient.  This isn't necessarily a gps thing because some of us train on lakes or slower water.  It's more of a feel and listening thing.  If your bow is making a bunch of noise and throwing a big wave, you're probably trying to push that boat too fast.  Remember, this race is 340 miles.  Your goal should be to move the same speed in the first 20 miles as you do in the final 20 miles.  A consistent, steady pace all the way to St. Charles.  You will see folks that are straining hard at the start throwing a big bow wake and passing people the first 5 miles or so.  Then they will slow down and you'll end up passing them as they try to recover from this burn.

Efficiency in all things should be your goal.  Some things to consider.

1. Weight.  There is a time penalty for every ounce you load on your boat.  The less you carry checkpoint to checkpoint, the easier it will be.  If you have a physical ground crew, this is much easier to accomplish.  You can carry just the bare essentials to get you to the next checkpoint.  If you have a virtual ground crew, you can still do your best to carry minimum needed before you can resupply.  And remember, the heaviest thing in your boat is you.  Dropping 5 pounds between now and July will pay off in many ways.

2. Time on shore.  Consider the river as a big, fast conveyor belt.  It is doing half the work for you.  But when you pull of the river for any reason, you lose that advantage.  Stay in the boat.  Yes, there will be times when you have to pull off to get supplies or sleep.  But those are the only reasons!  Do everything possible in the boat while letting the river help you.  If you haven't figured out how to pee in your boat yet, start working on it.  You simply cannot pull over to pee ever few hours.  It wastes time but more importantly, landing and launching is exhausting.  You will quickly run out of energy.  Guys and girls both can do this.  There are many great products out there for women that work very well.  And guys too will need to practice if you're in a kayak.  An empty gatorade bottle or Planter's Peanut jar can be very handy. You can certainly eat in your boat.  If your ground crew hands you an amazing sub sandwich with everything you've been craving for 40 miles, jump back in the boat and eat it while the river pulls you at 3mph towards your goal.  Biggest mistake we see at the back of the race is folks spending way too much time on shore doing stuff they could do on the water.

3. Efficient, present, ground crew.  Every boat is required to have a ground crew.  Your ground crew may be a physically present ground crew or a remote, virtual ground crew.  The ground crew's primary job is to be aware of the paddler's health and location.  For physical ground crews this is pretty easily done.  They will see their paddler at agreed to locations and there will be an appraisal of their well being.  For a virtual ground crew, this looks a bit different.  In a virtual set up, the ground crew and paddler arrange for text or voice contact and regular intervals.  If your virtual ground crew doesn't hear from you when expected, they are to call the safety boat hotline and report it.

Obviously, having a physically present ground crew gives you a big advantage.  There's someone to carry all the gear you might need for a rainstorm.  And to resupply your food and liquids so you don't have to carry so much... and to cheer you on and keep you moving.

If you're lucky enough to have a ground crew, make the most of them.  Make sure they have a foldable wagon or something to carry all your stuff over long parking distances at the more crowded checkpoints.  Make sure you have good communication with them about what you'll need at each checkpoint so that there is minimum delay.  Ideally, you hit the ramp, they help you pull your boat out of the way, you wander off to the bathroom while they attack your boat removing all the trash and empty containers and replacing everything.  You come back, help launch the boat, tell them what you need at next meeting and they hand you that sub sandwich and you're gone.  Minimal time wasted.

Assuming you've dialed all this in before race day, you're cruising along to your first meeting.  You've spent some time leading up to the race toughening up your hands with some long distance paddling.  Or some free weights.  Or some pull ups.  Or some good manual labor.  You're aware of any hot spots that are starting on your hands and adjusting your grip to spread the damage out.  Your hands will be hamburger by the end of this but your goal should be to avoid the worst of it for as long as possible.  You're drinking on a regular schedule that you've worked out with your training.  You are also eating every 20 - 30 minutes to avoid bonking out.  You're burning a ton of calories and have to keep the fire stoked.  If you've got a partner in the boat you're making sure they are eating and drinking on schedule.  As the heat begins to build you make sure you're staying cool.  You dip your hat in the river and let it keep your head and neck wet.  You applied a bunch of sunscreen at Kaw Point and plan to reapply at the first stop  You've got a tube of chapstick in one of your PFD pockets.  Sunglasses with a cord so you don't lose them.  Sun gaiter on your neck to keep the sun off and to use as a mask if needed at checkpoints.  Everything clicking along nicely.  You've got the RaceOwl app on your phone showing the channel and you're right on it.  As you round another bend you see the front end of a barge come in to view.

Barges and Dredges
Barge traffic on the Missouri is minimal but it is increasing. We will see 2 or 3 that week and potentially more.  They come in many configurations.  Some are long haul and travel night and day.  Some are short haul and just going a half mile back and forth from a sand dredge.  Let's look at both.

Sand dredges operate mostly during normal daylight work hours.  These are large noisy contraptions anchored night and day midstream.  We will pass one the first morning.  The dredge itself doesn't move but the cables that anchor it to the sandy bottom will rise and fall out of the water so you need to keep your distance to one side or the other.  The dredges auger up sand from the river bottom for use in construction.  The sand is deposited in sand flats (barges) tied alongside the dredge.  As the flat is filled, a small towboat will bring an empty to the other side of the dredge, tie it off, then grab the full one and haul it to shore for offloading.  So if you see a dredge pumping sand, look for the towboat and try to stay out of their path from shore to dredge and back.

At night, the dredges do not usually operate but they will still be there in the water.  They are supposed to leave a light on both ends but you can't count on this as the lights can fail.  You'll want to use your eyes and ears and be ready to grab that strong LED flashlight if needed to light up the river if you need to.

The other type of towboat will be pushing 2-3 barges for long distances, running night and day.  These are bigger and tend to throw a larger wake if moving upstream with a heavy load.  If you see a barge going upstream OR downstream, you need to exit the navigation channel and stay a safe distance away.

Due to the nature of the Missouri River the towboat will be constrained to the navigation channel to assure it will have the depth to proceed.  You, being a tiny little boat, are not constrained to this channel.  So if you move out of the channel you are almost assured of not being in the way.  Typically, the off channel side of the river will be the inside of bends.  Here's a great explainer video from Chris Luedke's 340 Paddler channel.

After the barge let's imagine you're getting to the first rendezvous with your ground crew.  Missouri is blessed with some pretty good boat ramps and adjacent parks.  But the 340 tends to overwhelm the parking and ramp size so we all have to work together to keep the ramps functional.  We all have to work together to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

The big problem tends to be at the bottom of the ramp where folks are landing and launching and repacking boats all in a tight space.  We have to leave the bottom of the ramp open so folks can land.  So, once you land, grab your boat and carry it up the ramp to a spot out of the way.  Then you have time to work on the boat before jumping back in the launch line to get going again.  Only the fastest racers will get there early enough to have the ramp to themselves for the ground crew to service the boat at the waterline.  The rest of us will be crowded and will need to come up the ramp to a clear spot.  Please help this happen.

Once you're back on the water and on your way you'll be heading to your first official checkpoint.  Waverly, MO is a blessed town in that it has TWO boat ramps.  The first is upstream of the bridge.  The second is just downstream.  You can choose either one.  Both will have food available for sale from the local boy scout troop.  Please support them!  And both ramps will have restrooms available.  So it's really a preference but you'd want to have worked it out with ground crew ahead of time.  Or, have them text you with whichever location they scout that day.

Protocol at a checkpoint is no different.  Help keep the ramp clear and be efficient.  The difference is that at a checkpoint, you are required to check in electronically using text messaging or the RaceOwl app.  We will talk more about the app in a future dispatch.

Checking in is a crucial part of the 340 safety plan.  Your first check in will have happened earlier that morning at Kaw Point Park before the starting gun.  Everyone will need to check in so we can confirm you started.  Volunteers will be there to help you at Kaw Point should you have a problem.  So by the time you get to Waverly, you will have done it once already.

The Waverly cutoff time is 8pm.  This is 13 hours for the solos and 12 hours for everyone else.  If you don't make it there by 8pm, you are out of the race.  So efficiency day 1 is super important.  One of our safety boats, The Reaper, acts as a pace boat and will run all day long at precisely the speed needed to make the 8pm cutoff.  Hopefully, you never see the Reaper behind you.  And we really hope you never see it in front of you.  If the Reaper beats you to Waverly, you are out.  Plan and train accordingly.

Here's a Chris Luedke video on the Reaper

This is the second year of the 8pm Waverly cutoff.  Last year it only disqualified one boat.  It was a 4 person team from the 8am start.  No solos were disqualified.  Waverly is the most difficult checkpoint to make.  So efficiency from Kaw Point to Waverly is crucial!  Plan to meet your ground crew somewhere and only for a couple of minutes.  La Benite, Cooley Lake, Napoleon, Ft. Osage, Lexington... all of these are good options on the way to Waverly.  A good ground crew will be at the place you planned but will also be watching from another place just in case you need something.  The key if you need to stop, is to make it super quick.  Hand them your empty jugs, let them put the full stuff in and then go. 

But yes, it will be work.  And when you glide into Waverly ahead of the Reaper, it will be well earned.  And then, you get your first night of the race!

With everyone in by 8pm, it's unlikely we'd have anyone considering spending the night in Waverly.  There will be still be about an hour of decent light.  It will be hot, muggy and noisy at Waverly.  And you've got another cutoff time to beat tomorrow at Glasgow.  Better to make some miles in the evening and overnight if the weather and other conditions allow.

Night travel requires navigation lighting.  Here's another great Luedke video on night paddling which includes a primer on navigation lights.

You'll be surprised by the second wind you get once the sun goes down.  You're surrounded by paddlers and with the heat of the day fading, everyone gets a little boost.  The moon comes up and you wonder why anyone would ever want to paddle in the daytime.  Some of your best miles will come at night.  And guess what?  The Reaper takes the night off.  She usually parks at Hill's Island about 12 miles downstream of Waverly and doesn't pick up your trail again until 6am.  So, if you paddle most of Tuesday night, odds are you won't see the Reaper again. She simply can't catch you.

So that's a busy day 1.  You checked in twice.  Once at Kaw Point and once at Waverly.  You passed a sand dredge and maybe even a barge.  You met your ground crew a couple of times.  You peed in a bottle a few times with no mishaps.  You ate and drank on a good schedule with plenty of electrolytes and food you could tolerate.  And you got through the heat of the day and into the night.

Day 2
By sunrise of day 2 there will be racers from Hills Island (mile 281) to Jeff City (mile 144)  An unbelievable spread.  And by dinner time of day 2, the first boat will finish.  And the back of the race will be in Glasgow.  A spread of 199 miles from first place to last. 

You'll be somewhere in there.  The training, research, planning will all be paying off.  The mental toughness of gritting through the pain and staying in the boat will your biggest challenge.  But along with the bad hours there will be great hours!  Second winds that come out of nowhere and propel you along to the next checkpoint. 

More to come soon!  Try to get on the river if you can!  There are races and training runs happening all the time.  Check the facebook group! 

We're here if you have any questions.

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© 2023 Missouri River Relief. All Rights Reserved. Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital.