Every year hundreds of people from all over Missouri, the United States, and even as far as Australia come together to compete in the MR340. MR340 is a race across Missouri, 340 miles long, that starts in Kansas City and ends in St. Charles. The kicker: competitors only have 85 hours to complete it.
Daryl Simon, 74 years old from Rogersville, has competed in 13 of the last 17 years worth of races.
“I am a life-time canoe person. I just love being in a boat on the water,” reflected Simon. “People told me, ‘you should go do that race, you should do it’. So I did it the first year just to see if I could finish.”
After the first attempt, in which Simon completed the race in just 61 hours he was hooked. “I felt like I could for sure do better,” shared Simon.
“Over the years I have improved to a faster and faster type of boat, (we) had a goal to be in the top ten. This year we were ninth overall.” explained Simon. The MR340 allows boaters to paddle the race alone or in tandem. “Last year we (Simon and his partner) each lost our partner. We kinda met by accident in the parking lot at a race. Having both lost our partners at the same time, we decided to test each other out.”
After multiple times testing their ability to work together in the water the two decided they did work together well and signed up to compete in the race as a tandem pair-team name “Tandemonium”.
“It worked well…we were first in the tandem division with a man and woman in a boat,” shared Simon. “It (the team’s name) was invented by my wife. It’s a tandem boat-two people in the boat, it’s a play on words with tandem and pandemonium because we tip over and we are upside down from time to time,” laughed Simon.
The race is 340 miles of challenges. From other boats plowing up and down the Missouri River, to heat, fatigue and exhaustion.
“The water helps you a little bit. Different years the water flow is high and fast. Some years you get a gift from the river. We didn’t get that gift this year, it was slow,” reflected Simon of the challenges on the water this year. “We were an hour slower this year and I feel like we worked harder this year.”
The race itself is a test of endurance, perseverance, stamina, and trust. “We stopped at Franklin Island and slept for twenty minutes. That was it for that day. The next day we stopped at Herman for twenty minutes to sleep,” shared Simon. “At the end of the race, that last fifty miles, all I can do is paddle the boat forward and rely on my partner to do the steering and paddling.”
When Simon is not racing, you can still find him out on the water.
“I make a living like everyone else. I put in carpeting and hardwood floors. I also put my boat in the water at least once a week, even if it’s all alone I’ll paddle about seven miles...it’s a wonderful way to escape the real world.”
To learn more about the MR340, visit the website at rivermiles.com
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