COLUMBIA — On Tuesday, 230 boats are expected to embark on a 340-mile voyage down the Missouri River, departing from Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., and finishing in St. Charles.
The ninth annual Missouri River 340 race, which had been scheduled for the beginning of July, was rescheduled for this week due to high water levels. A month later, the river is looking much more manageable for racers, with levels at the starting line 9 feet lower than they were in July, race director Scott Mansker said.
"This year is looking like it's going to be a perfect year," Mansker said. "The water levels throughout the river are great, and the temperatures are amazing."
Mansker said he normally warns racers about heat stroke at the race's mandatory safety meeting, but this year he'll be encouraging them to dress warm for cool, nighttime temperatures.
The race will begin at 8 a.m. Eight checkpoints are set up along the river for racers to rest and buy food and water if needed. Ground crew members will be stationed at each checkpoint to distribute water and food, collect trash from boats and help with anything the racers might need.
Paddlers are expected to arrive at Cooper's Landing, at river mile 170, throughout Wednesday and early afternoon Thursday. Katfish Katy's is the closest checkpoint to Cooper's Landing, which opens at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and closes at noon Thursday.
Racers are not required to stop at the checkpoints, but they must check in electronically as they pass through. Those who arrive to checkpoints after they close will be disqualified from the race.
The MR340 record-holder is a six-man team from Texas who finished the race in 35 hours and 58 minutes in 2013.
All paddlers must cross the finish line in St. Charles by midnight Friday.
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.