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

Presentation by Bryan Hopkins

10 years ago Bryan Hopkins was in the first batch of racers to attempt the Missouri American Water MR340 and has grown to be a consistent contender in Missouri River races. He’s going to provide tips on preparing your equipment, boat, body, brain and heart for endurance paddling races. This is going to be a great talk whether or not you ever intend on tackling a paddling race.


A foggy morning on the Missouri River near the mouth of the Osage River. During the 2013 MR340. photo by Steve Schnarr

Time and Place

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
7:00 pm

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Where – Westport Coffeehouse Theater – 4010 Pennsylvania Ave. Kansas City, MO

6 p.m. – Social Hour
7 p.m. – Presentation. Presentation will be filmed – After 7 PM, Please enter through Green Room Burgers

PLUS – This presentation audio will be streaming live on KCDV.tv!
(See past videos here)

Presentation is FREE and open to the public!

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’s going to provide tips on rigging your boat for distance racing, nutritional strategies, training, and fundamentals such as boat selection and race strategy.

He’ll also discuss 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.  Plus, he’ll share stories of his experiences on these grueling adventures.

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 and the surprises the river reveals about itself and you.


Westport CoffeeHouse – 4010 Pennsylvania Kansas City, Mo – www.westportcoffeehouse.com

The Westport CoffeeHouse is in the Westport entertainment area, midtown KC, south of downtown and north of the Plaza.  The main intersection is Westport Rd and Broadway.  From this intersection, go west on Westport Rd one block to Pennsylvania. Turn north (right).

OR you can get there from the intersection of Southwest Trafficway and Westport Rd.  Go east on Westport Rd to Pennsylvania. Turn north (left).

Westport Coffee House is approximately one block down on the west side of Pennsylvania.  Parking can be had either south of the coffee house in the large parking lot or just north of the coffee house alongside the building.  Enter through Green Room Burgers or Westport CoffeeHouse.

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.