In just a few days, 54 racers from Columbia and Boone County will embark on the painstaking, 340-mile river race called the Missouri American Water MR340.

They will have just 88 hours to complete the course that starts at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, then continues down the Big Muddy all the way to the other side of the state, ending in St. Charles.

The challenge is not for the faint of heart. About a third of those who start the race are unable to finish. The local competitors have been preparing outside of their day jobs, and among the racers are doctors, teachers, EMTs and engineers.

The paddleboards, pedal-drive boats, canoes and kayaks are scheduled to hit the water early Tuesday morning, and the deadline for finishing is midnight Friday.

Here’s a list of local racers, all of whom are from Columbia unless otherwise noted:

Women’s Solo Division

  • Sarah Bantz, No. 0990
  • Martha Gore, No. 0896

Men’s Solo Division

  • Jed Friedrichsen, No. 7650
  • Terry Merritt, No. 0101
  • Matt Peters, No. 9292
  • Peter Dyke, No. 0995
  • Tim Littell, No. 1508

Men’s Tandem Division

  • Moby Dick — Lucas Gleaves, with Nate Peterson of St. Louis, No. 4077
  • River Rodents of Unusual Size — Thomas Selva, with Rusty Self, of Hannibal, No. 0350
  • Team America — Collin Welch, with Jesse Richardson of Hartsburg, No. 8993
  • June’s Loons — Steven Stepanovic, with Bill Kloeckner of Lee’s Summit, No. 0069
  • Barely A Wake — J. Glenn Phaup, with Sam Aubuchon of Blue Springs, No. 1749
  • Plain Jane — Trevor Brockman, with Cole Blackburn of Rocheport, No. 4921
  • The Purple Crackle Track Club — Steve Kissane, with Ron Ayers of St. Charles, No. 3630
  • Just Keeling Time — Paul Petrowski, with Zack Miller of Wooldridge, No. 2230

Women’s Tandem Division

  • Cinda and Maggie — Cinda Eichler and Maggie Johnston, No. 0004
  • WAARP Speed — Renee Simmons, with Jeannette Anthony of Kansas City, No. 1006

Mixed Tandem Division

  • YuKee Water — Lindsay Yungbluth, with Dana Kee of Franklin, No. 4620
  • Beauty And The Beast — Bryan and Alma Hopkins, No. 1313
  • Sturgeon Surgeons — David Combs, with Sabrina Davenport of Ashland, No. 1876

Team Division (3 to 4 members)

  • Proud Marys — Kristine Juhl, Lauren Craford and Kerri Chittum, No. 6666

Voyageur Division (5 to 10 members)

  • Can’t-Stop-Won’t-Stop — Zach Cravens, Wes Hanks, Patrick Hanks and Zachary Mihalevich, with Blaine Chandler of Ashland and Andrew Gunn of Kansas City, No. 1739

Dragonboat Division (11+ members)

  • Valhalla Standing — Linda LaFontaine, Cami Ronchetto, Kyle Patrick and Mary Burkhart, with Shane Perrin of Byrnes Mill; David Grebetz of Racine, Wisconsin; Daren Wolf, Brendaly Rodriguez Muñoz and Jessica Kiefer, all of St. Louis; Rod Wellington, of Chatham, Ontario, Canada; Justin Brooke of Blue Springs; and Bailey Donahue of Cordova, Tennessee; No. 1115
  • Summer 2018 advanced reporter. I'm a junior studying business and economic journalism. Drop me a line at margaretaustin@mail.missouri.edu

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