340-Mile Mirror

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 8, 2010

to face with whatever is within you that made you think it was important to impress someone who is not present.

“When I took up the sport,” she continued, “I was an alcoholic. I was trying to impress my then-husband, who was a paddler. At 27 or 28 I was a couch potato. To get inside his walls, I was going to get in a boat, and maybe he would get off my back. I got in the boat and never got out.”

Magee competes in 30 to 40 paddling events, triathlons and marathons annually. She learned about the MR340 from Hansen.

“West came home from the first year’s event and told me about this big water with nobody around,” she said. “It sounded like a soloist’s paradise. I came to Missouri to find my place in the world instead of my place among a bunch of rocks in a 50-footwide river.”

She described the MR340 as “an awesome event for someone who wants to find out something about what’s inside them.

Ann Grove, 66, Benecia, Calif.

Physical Therapist, Mixed Tandem—did not finish

For Ann Grove and partner Wayne Kocher, just surviving the race was a triumph. They were paddling down the dark, fog-shrouded river above Hermann early July 26—Wayne’s 70th birthday—when they saw the lights of a towboat pushing barges upriver. They tried to cross in front of the barge to the opposite side of the river.

“We didn’t know it was there until it was 10 feet away,” said Grove. “I yelled, ‘Wayne!’ and we hit and were thrown under the barge.”

In the churning water, sand and mud, the couple desperately clawed their way along the bottom of the barge toward its edge.

“I was running out of air,” she said. “I gulped some water, and I thought, ‘If I get out of this and don’t get dysentery I am going to live to be 130.’”

They both emerged on the same side, but couldn’t hear one another’s frantic calls at first. Just as they found each other, the barge crew threw a rope and pulled them to safety. Their $5,500 outrigger kayak washed up on wing dikes in pieces, ending the race after a grueling 250-mile paddle. They escaped with only bruises.

“We were fortunate,” said Grove. “The river was beautiful, and people were just outstanding in their concern. Their warmth was amazing. I have never been hugged so much in my life. You don’t always finish what

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