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Neither wind, rain nor debris kept Sanson from his goals

By Gary Sanson/For the Richmond News

1983 Richmond graduate Gary Sanson finished this year’s MR 340 river race in 42 hours, 6 seconds, good enough for 10th best in the event’s decade of existence. (Submitted photo)

1983 Richmond graduate Gary Sanson finished this year’s MR 340 river race in 42 hours, 6 seconds, good enough for 10th best in the event’s decade of existence. (Submitted photo)

This year’s Missouri River Race, known as the MR340, was the event’s 10th anniversary.

The race is 340 miles across the state of Missouri from Kansas City to St. Charles. People travel from around the world to compete and attempt to complete the journey in 88 hours or less.

The race supports river preservation and displays our beautiful state in a way that few have taken the time to see and enjoy.  This is one of the main reasons I continue to return and compete in this race. It takes me away from the work and the stress, something we all have to deal with in today’s world, and it helps me reaffirm my faith and goals in life.

It took me two years of training and competing in this race to accumulate notes on ways to improve my performance and learn from my mistakes. This helped me improve dramatically. To compete in this race you have to push yourself to the limits of your abilities, commit to several things, set realistic goals and training schedules, adjust your diet accordingly and train, train, train – and on top of that work!

I set three goals this year. Just finish the race. This was my priority. I knew I had no control over the weather but I did have control over my readiness and conditioning. My second and third goals were to beat last years’ time of 55 hours, 26 minutes, and finish under 50 hours.   

It was Tuesday, July 28 at 7 a.m. – race day – and I had concerns. I knew the temperature that day was going to be in the mid 90s and the heat index was going to be over 100 degrees. An excessive heat warning was already out. The next 12 hours were going to be the worst, but it was the best I’ve ever felt at the start of this race.

I had trained two weeks prior under similar conditions in that same location and felt like I knew what to expect. The river levels in the Kansas City area were not real high, but were up over the dikes and debris was in the river. Navigating during the day was not a problem.

One of the requirements of the race is to have a ground crew or virtual crew. This consists of someone to help you and keep track of you during the race. Their job is to stay in contact with you and help race officials keep track of you throughout the race.

As competitors, we are also responsible for helping others should the need arise. They request you carry a SPOT Tracker, a device that sends out a signal with your location every 5-15 minutes, making it easier to follow your progress. The SPOT tracker also has an S.O.S. button for distress calls.

This year I had the best, top-notch ground crew I could ask for. My wife, Kim, the veteran coordinator, knows how to find every boat ramp on the Missouri River between here and St. Charles. She can tell you where every Stop & Shop is and always managed to fulfill any request I would throw her way.

The complete story is in the Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 Richmond News.

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