After my “Half Scar Plus” 42 mile run on 6/5, my plan was to take it easy for a few weeks, and not plan any more runs or races immediately. Of course, it was difficult not to think about what might be next, and I already had ideas about a 50 miler in the Fall, such as the Vermont 50 on 9/26. But I was being good and not getting too serious about anything, when out of the blue I received an email from Will, a former team mate of mine from my Florida Adventure Racing days. The email said:
I am on a team that is paddling a dragon boat in the Missouri River 340 at the end of July. If we finish it will be the world record for longest race in a dragon boat. We lost a person. There are some folks in line to take the spot, but there is probably a chance for another opening. Are you interested?
My first response was: “I don’t even know what a dragon boat is!” Will responded that while not exactly technically accurate, a dragon boat is a large ceremonial canoe that typically seats 20 paddlers, has a drummer in front to keep strokes in sync, and an oarsman in back to steer. At first I really had no interested in racing with 20 other people! While I had been trying to get Will to race the Texas Water Safari, a 260 mile paddling race, with me for years, the thought of racing with 20 other people, instead of just one, scared me. An adventure race of 2-3 days with just 3 other teammates can be tough enough in terms of team dynamics and chemistry, yet here was a race with 17 more people to throw into the mix. I couldn’t even imagine it!
But over a few days, my sense of adventure started to get the better me. Then there was definitely a spot for me. And the thought of having my name on a world record was intriguing, as well. 🙂 Finally, the race would start just a couple of days after my 40th birthday! Looking at the calendar, it was a bit tight logistically to fit into my work and personal life, but there was just enough window to make it happen. And when both my wife and my boss gave me the green light (Thanks K and D!), I decided to go for it!
So here is a picture of the boat that has been custom built for this adventure:
On top of the chance to paddle 340 miles in a couple of days with 20 other adventurers, and the chance to go for a world record, we are also doing this for the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. I encourage you to take a look at our team web page, Beauties and Barnacles, and consider making a donation to the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis.