Ultra Marathon Paddling: Tips on preparing for the MR340 and other irrationally long races

Published: June 2, 2015

Presentation by Bryan Hopkins, MO. Dept. of Natural Resources and veteran kayak racer

Original presentation, June 2, 2015, at Les Bourgeois Bistro, Rocheport, MO.

Second Presentation, November 24, 2015 at Westport Coffeehouse Theater, Kansas City, MO.

One of the premiere paddling race courses is right in our backyard – the Missouri River. This July will be the 10th Annual Missouri American Water MR340 – a non-stop ultra-marathon paddle race across the state of Missouri from Kansas City to St. Charles. When the first MR340 was run in 2005, there were 16 boats. This year there are over 400 boats signed up. At the time the MR340 was the first race of its kind on the Big Muddy. Since then, there’s been an explosion of races up and down the Lower Missouri and the Missouri River paddling community, once a bunch of isolated groups of people crazy enough to paddle the big river, has found a way to find each other.

Bryan Hopkins was in that first batch of racers 10 years ago, and has grown to be a consistent contender in these long flat river races. He shared tips on rigging your boat for distance racing, nutritional strategies, training, and fundamentals such as boat selection and race strategy.

Healso discussed the unique challenges of racing the Missouri River,  such as dealing with night travel, wind, heat, insects, fog, barges, jumping carp, wing dams and staying in the channel.  He will also discuss insider tips on how to reduce blisters on your hands, seat comfort, reducing chaffing, pain management and more.

Even if you don’t plan to do these crazy races…this talk will give you insight on what it is like to paddle straight thru for hours and hours on end.

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Rocheport Resources & Links

Dig in for more info on this topic:

Canoe and Kayak Races on the Missouri River

Missouri & Mississippi River Water Trail information

Some Great River Paddling reading – articles and books

Missouri River Paddling guides and outfitters

The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.

The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

Kansas City Resources & Links

Dig in for more info on this topic:

Canoe and Kayak Races on the Missouri River

Missouri & Mississippi River Water Trail information

Some Great River Paddling reading – articles and books

Missouri River Paddling guides and outfitters

The Big Muddy Speakers Series in Kansas City

is hosted by these wonderful partners!

Thanks to all of our venue hosts for making this possible! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.

Recordings of Presentations

Kansas City Digital Video has been recording Big Muddy Speaker Series presentations. These are available on their website at this link. Some contain synchronized powerpoint presentations. We will be posting these to the archived presentation pages on bigmuddyspeakers.org. Thanks Micheal Morgan and crew for putting this important archive online! The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.


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