When Ned Flottman was out of work, he spent a lot of time riding his bike around White Rock Lake, watching and envying the kayakers. He was even more intrigued by kayaking and canoeing following his brother-in-law’s 2009 experience in the MR340 race — 340 miles from Kansas City to St. Louis, down the Missouri River.

Flottman wanted to do that race in 2010, but there were a few problems, as his wife pointed out: He didn’t have a job, had no health insurance and he didn’t have a boat.

Nonetheless, he had his mind made up. By May (the race was in July) he had a job and his wife immediately told him to go ahead and buy the boat, get insurance and enter the longest non-stop canoe/kayak race in the world. A race that organizers promise will “test your mettle from the first stroke in Kansas City to the last gasp in St. Charles … This ain’t no mama’s boy float trip,” according to the web site.

Only about two thirds of the 300-team field actually finished the race and Flottman was one of them. “I was 182 out of 186 finishers and it took about four days, but I finished.” The winners finished in about 40 hours, he notes.

Flottman has since taken a job in Shreveport, but he is in town this weekend to visit with White Rock area residents Emily Loerke (and her teammate, also named Emily) and Stephen Mahelona who plan to do this year’s MR340 in July.

Participants in the MR340 generally use the event to raise money: Flottman last year raised $5,000 for Haiti relief, Mahelona is raising money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Emilys are raising money to adopt a child, according to Flottman.

I plan to meet with the group soon, so look for a story in an upcoming Advocate.


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