340-Mile Mirror

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2008

Last revision: Dec. 8, 2010

of a hardship,” said Glauner. “I had gotten through a lot of checkpoints early and decided to blow all those banked hours. I had a great time getting to know people and relaxing. I actually felt as good on the last day as I did on the first day.”

One of the factors contributing to her enjoyment was a change in her nutritional strategy. While other paddlers were downing power drinks concocted of fruit, yogurt, avocado and raw eggs, she asked her ground crew to bring her as much greasy fast food as possible.

“The first year, Edie and I tried to eat really healthy through the whole race.” Glauner said. “We had a miserable time being able to eat at all after the first day. This year I ate lots of big old cheeseburgers, french fries….It tasted the best, and I felt the best afterwards.”

Glauner’s most rewarding experience was spending time with two other solo paddlers, Richard Lovell and Mark Handley.

“They made my race great,” she said. “Being around that kind of friendship was really inspiring. I was really lucky to be able to paddle with them.”

Richard Lovell, 55, Kansas City, Mo.

Disabled, Men’s Solo—97:6

Lovell worked in computer technology until throat cancer forced him to quit. He was undergoing radiation treatment when the first MR340 got underway in 2006, but he followed the race at the first few checkpoints and set his mind to enter the race the next year.

He already had a long-term love affair with the river, which is chronicled on his website, www.missouririvertrips.com. He had never owned a kayak, but he bought one and trained as best he could during cancer treatment. Race organizers were surprised when they received his registration for the 2007 race. They were more surprised the night before the race began, when he mentioned that he was undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer.

Lovell said planning for the race helped get him through a difficult year.

“I didn’t know that I would even be able to complete it, let alone in 100 hours,” he said, “but I love the Missouri River. The cancer moved to my lungs before we caught it, and this could be my last chance to get on the river.”

Paddling all 340 miles with Lovell was his long-time friend Mark Handley. Lovell’s daughter, Cathy Lovell, provided ground support, preparing food and pitching tents for them each night.

Race organizer Scott Mansker said it was both disturbing and uplifting to watch Lovell and Handley confront a challenge that defeats many young, healthy paddlers. At one point, Lovell’s kayak ran into a wing dike. It broke Mansker’s heart to see the frail but game Lovell struggling to keep up with demands of the grueling race.

“Richard was absolutely determined to finish the race,” Mansker said. “He and Mark would strategize, and Mark was always there, watching over him like a guardian angel. It was beautiful to watch.”

“The best part of [the] race was getting to see the river, even at night,” said Lovell. “It was good to be back out there again. From the very beginning, I knew I would not win the race. I just wanted to be there for the river, and if I could do it in 100 hours, that would be even better.”

Lovell and Handley finished dead last. Lovell’s hands and backside were blistered, but he was triumphant. When his kayak touched shore in St. Charles, everyone cheered.

Lovell had surgery on one of his lungs the September following the race, and was scheduled to have surgery on the other the next month. He planned a paddling trip from St. Joseph to Kansas City to take place between the two surgeries, and was hoping to be in this year’s MR340.

“Part of the lure of the race is knowing that there is such treasure to be tapped into,” said Glauner. “Everyone’s story is different, even though they are doing the same thing. Taking part in those other stories is exciting, and knowing that you are writing your own story is motivating.”

This year’s MR340 is set for July 15 through 19. For more information, visit online, or call (913) 244-4666.

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