More than 600 paddlers race across Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY - This year's 13th annual Missouri American River MR340 race put more than 600 paddlers on the Missouri River.

The 340-mile race started Tuesday morning in Kansas City and finishes in St. Charles as early as Thursday.

The first boat passed by the Jefferson City checkpoint at 5:18 a.m. Wednesday. The team, River Fitness, consisted of 5 rowers.

The second boat to reach Jefferson City was the first single paddler boat, floating by at 6:58 a.m.

There are 8 checkpoints along the way and 19 safety boats on the river. The Jefferson City checkpoint coordinator Sanka Hornecker said that while summer heat can play a factor on safety, the moon's phase is more important to coordinators.

The coordinators of the whole event pick the dates based on the full moon so the paddlers can see at night said Hornecker.

Hornecker said most of the top paddlers have been preparing for a long time and won't stop very often along the route.

"The main thing is light weight don’t carry a lot of stuff," Hornecker said. "They have these bags of water, so they can drink from their bag of water like you can have on a bicycle and that way they don't have to stop and try to pour water."

Hornecker said while the river's speed differs along the way the paddlers are flowing with the flow of the water.

"The river is flowing about 4 mph here, other places it’s two to three miles an hour in other places, but they can essentially, if they paddle all the time and if their fast and good they can go ten miles an hour," Hornecker said.

This year people can track boaters along the way online.

If anyone wants to cheer on paddlers Wednesday in Jefferson City the checkpoint is located at Joe Wilson's Serenity Point.