Missouri River 340 Rules
Tentative dates included below. Pending approval from the powers that be.
1. All racers must attend the mandatory race check-in and safety meeting on July 19, 2021. Check-in is from noon to 6pm at a site to be determined.
2. The Missouri River 340 will officially start at 7am for solo boats and 8am for all other boats on July 20, 2021. The starting point is Kaw Point Park, Mile 367.5 in Kansas City, KS. If weather or circumstances force a delay, boats may start all together.
3. The race will officially end at exactly 9pm of July 23rd, 2021, (86 hours for solos, 85 hours for all others) or when the last boat has reached the designated finish line ~340 miles downstream, whichever comes earlier. A team’s participation in this event ends when they have reached the designated finish line before 9pm of July 23, 2021 or when they notify race headquarters that they have withdrawn. Teams still on the Missouri River after 9pm of July 23 are electing to continue independently of the race.
4. No race craft may be propelled by sail, kite, umbrella or other contrivance designed to harness wind to an advantage. Human powered craft only. No stored energy device like a flywheel or similar tech may be used. Ask questions before you start building.
5. All participants agree to appear in event-related media coverage free of charge.
6. For any “shortcut” to be legal, it must have a flow of river water through it. Overland portages are not allowed. Portages over exposed “wing dams” for convenience are not permitted. The one exception is the Hermann Checkpoint where racers may land at one ramp and launch again at the adjacent, downstream ramp.
7. Outside assistance that provides intentional aid in the forward progress of a canoe/kayak is not allowed. This includes towing, wake riding, deflection of wind and “rafting up”. However, competitive interaction between the competitor race craft, as is the case in most canoe and kayak marathon races, is acceptable. This will be restricted to only wake riding and wind deflection as is normal in a competitive, strategic canoe race. No towing of race craft is permitted.
8. Ground support is required for all racers. It may be physical, virtual or a combination of both. A physical ground crew is present at checkpoints and knows with some certainty their racers approximate location and condition. A virtual ground crew is able to track a racer via electronic means and will know a relatively exact location. Both physical and virtual ground crews must be available 24 hours a day for phone contact with race officials seeking information on their racer(s). To clarify, if you have a virtual ground crew, you must also have an electronic tracking system which they can monitor at all times. This can include regularly scheduled communication via text or voice.
A ground crew may assist with procurement of supplies, set up of tents and preparation of meals. Ground crew may not, in any way, assist with propulsion of the boat. They may only touch the boat when the boat is in contact with the shore or in knee-deep water. Physical contact with support can only occur when the boat is grounded or in knee-deep water. No contact on the water is allowed. No support of any kind provided from a support boat is allowed including verbal interaction or cheering. An instant disqualification will be imposed. A safety boat that is part of the race may provide aid to any paddler who is in need in the form of liquids for drinking. There is no penalty if such is needed to make it safely to the next checkpoint.
9. Infractions of any rule during the Event will be grounds for time penalties or disqualification to be reasonably and fairly determined by the Judges.
10. Deliberate littering of the river is illegal. Teams must keep their trash in their canoes/kayaks and either transfer it to their support teams or go ashore themselves to properly dispose of waste.
11. All team members should understand there are serious risks involved in this endeavor. The hydraulics associated with many of the wing dams along the river are inherently dangerous. The greatest risk, however, is from the numerous large and small power craft that ply the great river. Constant vigilance, clear thinking, and quick reaction will be essential at all times. Good judgment must dictate when it is time to rest. All team members (racers and support personnel) will enter this race at their own risk and will not hold this event’s organizers, judges, officials, and sponsors liable for accidents to personnel or damage to any property.
12. Anyone paddling solo in this event must be at least 18 years of age on July 20, 2021 or at least 10 years of age if part of a tandem team accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. (Note that the parent or legal guardian must sign the liability waiver for the under-18-year-old child.)
13. All participants in this Event, including paddlers and other team members, must agree to the “Amateur Athletic Waiver and Release of Liability”. This waiver is required by the United States Canoe Association for participation in this event.
14. Multiple teams may not share paddlers. Teams may share ground support.
15. Teams must make formal contact with race officials at each designated checkpoint. Formal contact is defined by successfully sending a text message to the designated contact number. This message may be sent by the physical or virtual ground crew or the paddlers themselves. Checkpoints will be manned by volunteers and race staff until the checkpoint deadline passes. If you are not going to make a checkpoint by the proscribed deadline, you must make contact with a race official or safety boat prior to that deadline. If you elect to end your race you must make it a priority to contact race officials and let them know.
16. Each racer must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life preserver at all times while on the water. A whistle and an emergency chemical night light must also be attached to each life preserver at all times. A PFD must be worn at all times while on the water. This is per the United States Coast Guard as part of our race permit. Each documented instance of a paddler not properly wearing an approved PFD will result in a time penalty of not less than 15 minutes, increasing with each infraction until disqualified.
17. Boating at night can be dangerous if visibility if poor. The decision to paddle at night is made solely by each team. The following guidelines are provided to minimize the risk of serious injury. Full navigation lights are required for night travel. This would include red/green lights on the bow and a white stern light. Paddlers should also have an LED or chemical light affixed to PFD in case of separation from boat. A white light (flashlight) for signaling should also be aboard the boat.
18. Boating in the foggy conditions is dangerous and is neither required nor recommended. Assistance from race officials may take hours, especially in adverse conditions, and all racers need to be prepared to self-rescue and hike out if needed.
19. Race officials can shorten or lengthen cutoff times if safety is a consideration.
20. The original craft must be paddled from start to finish. Repairs may be made to the craft during the race, but other alterations are not permitted. A boat cannot be switched out for another boat.
21. Any part of the craft (rudders, outriggers, etc.) which will interact with the water during any portion of the race must be “on board” from start to finish. A space must be available on each side of the canoe/kayak close to the bow on which to affix the official race number. Each team may choose their own 4 digit number upon entry on a first-come, first-served basis. Race numbers are to be affixed by the racers themselves, prior to the start of the race.
22. A team member may quit the boat and the remainder of the team may continue on, still in the same division. The team member that quit may NOT enter the boat again at a downstream location and continue.
23. Participants must meet a series of deadlines as the proceed towards the finish line. The cutoff times for progress are designed to keep a tight safety halo for all paddlers. Failure to meet any checkpoint cutoff time is a disqualification, UNLESS at the discretion of onsite race staff, it is determined that conditions outside the paddler’s control were in play such as violent weather. This would be a rare and unique circumstance and would likely apply only to the first checkpoint.
24. The Reaper is a pace boat that moves at the minimum speed required to meet each checkpoint. IF the Reaper beats a participant to the checkpoint as determined by an imaginary line bisecting the river and originating at the upstream intersection of boat ramp and waterline. If the Reaper passes a boat prior to a checkpoint, the participants are not out until the checkpoint is reached by the Reaper. In other words, a participant may be passed by the Reaper and then pass the Reaper on their way to a successful checkpoint arrival.
25. The permits for the MR340 require us to run the race in safe conditions. Should the river become unsafe during the race because of rising water, the organizers are required by permit to end the race. The race would be ended as conditions dictated. It is possible that competitors who were further ahead might be in a section of river that was NOT at a dangerous level and would be allowed to complete the course. Competitors who were within or about to enter dangerous water, would have the race ended.
26. The “Governor’s Cup” will be awarded to the boat that arrives first to the finish line with the fastest overall time. For a solo to win, they would have to beat the first multiperson boat by over one hour.
27. A boat is officially finished when a part of the boat touches the mud or sand or other structure immediately within what is the “finish line zone.” Each year the river gives us different realities to work with at the finish line and every effort will be made to have this be an area safe for paddlers, spectators and volunteers. Having a touch finish metric allows our volunteers to more easily determine when a boat is finished and to resolve ties in an easier manner.
28. Leaving the immediate race course (river, checkpoints, paddle stops, etc.) should be avoided. If a competitor feels the need to leave the race course temporarily for any reason, their boat and one representative of the team or ground crew must remain at the course where the paddler departed until the paddler returns. This is to assure race officials of where the back of the race is for satisfying our permit and insurance. Often, the back of the race is well ahead of cutoff times and an absent paddler is a liability in the safety plan when the active last place boat “passes” the location where an absent paddler intends to return later. Please make sure your boat and the team representative are easily visible to race officials.
29. If a racer skips any portion of the course they are disqualified and barred from future competition. These infractions are usually reported by fellow racers, ground crews and volunteers and then investigated by race staff.
30. Every effort will be made to have competitive divisions of boat type and paddler. Single boat divisions are avoided and those boats will be placed in a division providing parity such as is possible. In the MR340, “old” people often beat young. Women often beat men. Solos often beat triples. Aluminum often beats carbon and bellies often beat abs. Attrition is usually 25-33%
31. The course is 340 miles long. At the longest, racers will span approximately 195 miles. Weather conditions will vary along the course. It is your responsibility to be aware of weather forecasts for your area. It is possible to have sunny conditions in one area and severe storms in another. If severe weather including wind and lightning are present, racers shall make all attempts to maximize safety in the context of their location and circumstance.
32. In formulating the rules that govern this event, every effort has been made to foresee all situations and problems that may arise, however, officials of the Missouri River 340 retain the right to change or amend these rules at any time without liability or recourse from any party regardless of the circumstances. Loophole probing is rarely good sportsmanship and is frowned upon in general by most people. Should rule changes or amendments be made, every effort will be made to notify all entrants. Should rule clarifications be needed mid race to address a specific situation, best judgement will be used by folks who love the race, weighing precedent and consistency.