Hello MR340 veterans and MR340 soon-to-be veterans!
This is the fourth and final email dispatch in a series leading up to the 18th Annual Missouri American Water MR340. Please review all of the 2023 dispatches located on our News & Updates page, make sure you have all the required gear needed for this race, that you have a flexible plan sorted out with your ground crew, and that you’re still confident you can take on the challenges that the MR340 will present. We want you prepared to have a safe and unforgettable 340-mile experience on the Big Muddy.
You and Your Boat
The Safety Video is Ready!
All racers are required to watch the 2023 Safety Video. Included is important information you need to know for safely completing the MR340. You will be required to check off a box on your Race Waiver that you’ve watched the video and have read all the Dispatches.
Heads up – it’s a long one...again. Make a movie night of it. If you can invite your Ground Crew over, be sure to offer them some good snacks and drinks at the very least, because if they don’t already know, they’re about to find out what they have gotten themselves into. Speed up within the YouTube settings if you wish. Pause and take notes if you need to.
Mandatory Check-In on 7/31/23 at Kaw Point
As a reminder, you are required to attend Race Check-In at Kaw Point on 7/31/23. We will be there from Noon until 8pm stepping you through the process. It shouldn’t take long. Be sure to have your appropriate RaceOwl app already downloaded since you will perform your first official Checkpoint check in here. More details about Race Check-In can be found in Dispatch #2. More info on RaceOwl below.
Race Day Parking
Make a plan for how you’re going to make your way into Kaw Point on race morning. We have a 2-page Parking Map that you need to review. Plan to come to the race early, well before your race start time (7am for solos, 8am for all other divisions). The great news this year about parking is that you have the option to park in the huge municipal lot #4 again for free, between 5am and 9am, located between State Ave and Minnesota. Lots of room there with zero headache.
Ideally you are parking outside Kaw Point Park at one of the lots available and walking in via the Riverfront Heritage Trail that comes right into Kaw Point Park. The Safety Video goes into detail about the parking options and suggestions.
The last thing you want to deal with on race morning is getting directed away from Kaw Point Park when its parking lot is already full. We want all of you to have a relaxed start with plenty of time to get on the water before you hear the countdown of the race begin.
The RaceOwl System
The RaceOwl System includes a website, smartphone apps (RaceOwlRacer and RaceOwl), and racer tracking capability. Checkpoint and location data from RaceOwl provide real-time status and results of all racers during the MR340. Racers must provide their position along the race course. This is required for our safety protocols.
RaceOwlRacer is the app to be used by racers. RaceOwl is the app to be used by ground crews and spectators. The website option for ground crews and spectators is also available, www.raceowl.com.
RaceOwl has undergone some great updates for 2023 thanks to Jon Marble. So, if you have used it before, you’ll want to re-educate yourself a bit and also check out the new features. If you’re brand new to using RaceOwl, no worries, we have a Race Tracking page that should have all you need to know.
Please dig in to that Race Tracking page. All racers and ground crews need to understand how this system works and be ready to use it during the MR340. Please don’t wait until the day before the race! We will have RaceOwl help at Kaw Point Check-In, but the more you can read through the details and also have the appropriate app already downloaded on your phone before arriving the better.
The First Miles
If this is your first MR340 or even your first race on the Missouri River, it’s not a bad idea to have your ground crew shadow you a bit within the first 50-mile stretch. Maybe they drive ramp to ramp and just watch you pass at each, in case something comes up and you need to pull over. If you have a rudder malfunction, realize you forgot your food bag in their vehicle, or have something else come up, there are convenient locations you can connect. Better to do this in these places than wait all day to remedy something as far downstream at Waverly.
We have a Google map and list of all possible boat ramps along the race course you and your crew should review here. Riverfront Park, La Benite, Fort Osage, and Napoleon are all ramps on river right, before even getting to Lexington. Lots of options to pull over the first day. And if you find you need to leave the race, these are great locations to DNF too.
To help document and showcase the MR340 this year we have brought on Chris Hammond from RainbowMarks Photography out of Wildwood, Missouri. Chris has been shooting sports photography for 20+ years through his RainbowMarks Photography business.
Chris is set to cover the MR340 from start to finish. Through a distinctive blend of technical expertise and artistic vision, he aims to portray the tenacity and spirit of you all and your dedicated ground crews! Chris will be at Kaw Point for Check-In offering pre-event photos of racers and crews for anyone who would like one. You will be able to order an 8x10 of these Check-In day prints to be picked up at the finish line in St. Charles. (Shipping is also an option if you can't pick up in St. Charles.)
Throughout the event Chris will be shooting various locations along the river and will be camped out at the finish line to capture finishers as they land in St. Charles.
As we get closer to the event you can find more information about MR340 photo package options on the RainbowMarks Photography page. Post-event you will find links to all of the photos from the race on this site as well.
If you see Chris with a camera, give him a wave! Actually don’t do that, just keep paddling and smile. 😊
Thank you to RainbowMarks Photography for the generosity of donating 5% of all August profits to Missouri River Relief!
Finish Line Party
Our wonderful MR340 finish line sponsors are once again gearing up for an entertaining crescendo to your race week. If you find yourself unable to make it all the way to St Charles self-propelled in your boat, we’d still love to see you at the finish line party!
This year the live band on stage is Al Holliday and The East Side Rhythm Band, a local St Louis area-based group sharing with us early R&B and Soul. Music starts around 6pm, then we break for the Awards Ceremony at 7pm where we acknowledge top three division winners, after which the party continues on until 9pm. Please join us if you can!
We so appreciate all of our sponsors and partners that help make this race a success. If you’re looking for some last-minute gear or are just curious as to who our dedicated supporters are, visit our Sponsors page and click on any to learn more about them. You will see some of these fine folks at Check-In on 7/31 and at the finish line in St Charles on Friday 8/4. Please tell them hello and thanks if you have the opportunity.
Missouri River Relief
The MR340 is Missouri River Relief’s biggest annual fundraising event. By participating in the MR340, you are supporting our mission to connect individuals and communities to the Missouri River through our education programs, river cleanups, and other recreation opportunities. We hope you come to love the Missouri River as much as we do, and we thank you so much. 340 miles of thanks.