Dispatch 1 [2021]

Hello Friends!

The 16th Annual MR340 is July 20-23 with mandatory check-in at Kaw Point Park on July 19 between noon and 8pm.

Here are some things to know.

Our friends at Missouri River Relief now own and operate the MR340.  This is the best news we could hope for the longevity of the race.  Having them in charge with all the people power and infrastructure they bring to a river event is a huge boon.  They've been involved with the race since 2008 so we're used to seeing them out there in force.  Not much will change to the untrained eye except that Scott sleeps a little better and Steve sleeps a little worse.

Things are looking much better than last year at this time.  Case numbers in Kansas City and along the river to St. Charles are dropping as more and more folks get vaccinated.  We are watching for evolving local regulations regarding large outdoor gatherings.  Right now, things are more relaxed than last year, though we've been waiting to get final details from Kansas City, Kansas Parks.  They requested we have a COVID plan in place for July 19 and 20.  To satisfy the regulations at the time we wrote the permit, we confirmed we would wear masks at the park during check in on July 19 and while on shore July 20.  This may change over the next couple of months and masks may NOT be required at the park.  But for now, plan accordingly.

Please bring a mask for paddlers and ground crew along the course in case any concession stands request patrons use a mask while ordering. 

Snowpack was slightly below normal and the reservoirs are in decent shape for all the big watersheds that feed the Missouri.  Much can change week to week but with the baseline normal in the lakes, we have more room for the inevitable storms.  I know you crazy people all want the river running right below flood stage.  But that is a recipe for a delay and nobody wants that.  So far so good!

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 19th 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 out the Alpine Shop Race Calendar


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!

Our facebook group is over 6000 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 20.  7am solos, 8am everything else.  All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on July 19 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)

This will be the second year of this schedule.  Last year only one boat was eliminated by a cutoff time and that was at Waverly.  The water was above average and temperatures were below average so it was pretty ideal.  We may see more eliminated this year.  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.

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.

RaceOwl is the easy to use tracking app developed and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi year MR340 Veteran.  With it, you can do all sorts of thing 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 is a phone app that will track your boat down the river and help you check in at the checkpoints. 

We strongly encourage tracking 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 very costly and don’t provide the checkpoint logging capabilities required by the race.

The RaceOwl app offers the ability to both track the racer and handle the required checkpoint logging.

So you can learn more about how to track, use the RaceOwl app and use the website during the MR340, we have created a series 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.

Download/update the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.

It is essential that you train on your own, attend a virtual race or participate in other race events, such as the Freedom Race, that use RaceOwl so you can become familiar with the app and the RaceOwl website ahead of the MR340.

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, July 19.  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.

If RaceOwl is beyond your tech abilities, you can step down to another MarbleWare product called MR340 Checkpoint Texter which is also available for free.  It will format a text for you with the proper criteria for checking in.  The text will appear in your outbox and you hit Send. Voila, you are checked in.

Paddler or ground crew can perform the check in.  The sooner you get the apps, the sooner you can practice and ask any questions. 

Another great product from Jon is MR340 PRO Paddler (Android Only, sorry).  This costs a few bucks but will do all kinds of cool stuff including a night-friendly chart of the river to keep you in the fast water.  Totally worth it.


  • 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. 

When you registered,  you listed a ground crew.  Soon you'll get an email with all your registration details, ground crew, boat color, phone numbers, etc.  and you'll have the opportunity to update everything before July 19. 

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

Glasgow (Checkpoint)
Fresh On The Go food truck

Franklin Island (Paddlestop)
Trevor Tilton Mortgage Grill  (complimentary from the sponsor)

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)
Nature Conservancy Grill

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.  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.

Due to covid we are again avoiding the crammed, sweaty confines of an awards ceremony under the museum.  Instead, we will award medals to you as you finish.  BUT we are planning sort of an outdoor party Friday, July 23 at the finish line.  There will be food and beer available as well as live music. The Party is sponsored by Terrain Magazine and Schlafly Brewing. 

And, we plan to recognize all podium (1st -3rd) finishers and hand them trophies live on the music stage between songs.  So it should be a great time!  I believe 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!  While I usually dread the awards ceremony, I'm actually looking forward to this!  You should too!

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 me your questions, and we'll get you squared away. 

Shameless plug: 

100% of purchases go to Missouri River Relief operations!

Your Race Director,
Scott Mansker

© 2024 Missouri River Relief. All Rights Reserved. Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital.