Video: An Aerial View of the 340-mile Missouri River ‘Death Race’

By Paul Jackson

Floating Dreams is a aerial visual documentary of the 10th annual MR340 Missouri River “death race”. This race is a 340 mile, non-stop endurance test from Kansas City to St. Charles, across Missouri by human-powered boats. With only 88 hours to complete, only about two thirds of the teams finish.

Before dawn on July 28, 2015, cars and trucks arrived from every direction hauling boats, and descended on Kaw Point, at the confluence of the Kaw and Missouri rivers, for the start of the MR340. The solo boats started as the sun rose, and the tandems and team start was an hour later. Nearly 700 racers engaged in this epic race. (Some of them even finished.)

The starts both seemed like a mad-dash for position, but as the boats got into the current of the Missouri River, they settled into a fast pace for the long ride.

Missouri river death race mr340 .
Screen grab from the film at the start of the MR340 race.

The distance between boats quickly grew as the leaders pushed themselves to set new record times. What began as a tight flotilla of boats became a loose string of colorful dots on the Big Muddy.

Volunteers and chase crews met the boats as they passed through small towns along the scenic course, resupplying and rooting on the paddlers. Like a ballet on water, it all seemed beautifully choreographed.

More from C&K

Film | ‘Atchafalaya River: The Mississippi’s Best Route to the Gulf’

Featured Destination: Cherry County, Nebraska