Dispatch 2 [2022]

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

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