To hold the 15th Annual MR340 race during this pandemic year, when so many public events have been cancelled, was a breath of fresh air. We are so grateful for the bravery of Scott and Kate Mansker for leading the way to a safe outdoor adventure for everyone. To witness the perseverance of the racers, the selflessness of the volunteers, the dedication of the ground crews, and the heroism of the safety crews was the medicine we all needed. All divisions and conflicts melted away as the MR340 wove its magic across the state.
The weather was incredible, with cool nighttime lows and highs in the 80's. Lots of clouds but no threatening storms. Heavy fog the first night followed by several days of perfection. Regional downpours the week before the race kept things dicey up to the last minute, but instead of the high water some racers had hoped for, we had a falling river, covering all of the landings with a layer of pudding mud. That always makes for some fun challenges for everyone!
While there were so many outstanding performances, one vessel, in particular, captured everyone's imagination. The handcrafted "Kraken", designed by racer Matt Walters and crewed by Matt, Joe Mann and "Uncle A-Dog", is a three-person pedal drive craft utilizing four actual canoe paddles on a chain drive. Impossible to explain and hard to believe even when seeing with your own eyes, the boat was the first to hit the finish line.
COVID precautions were observed throughout the race, with everyone masking up on ramps, food lines and other crowded locations. We hope this year's race is a model for the cooperation and care we need to move forward as a country.