Missouri now has a second paddle-sports race on its namesake river.
Unlike the original, this contest has a category for those not looking for an aquatic marathon.
The Race for the Rivers is a 68-mile challenge for highly competitive kayakers and canoeists. Paddlers will start Aug. 25 at Washington. Paddlers will take an overnight break at Frontier Park in St. Charles before completing the race with a 20-mile sprint to the confluence with the Mississippi River at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area Aug. 26.
The Clean Water Challenge is for experienced paddlers who want to learn more about the rivers and how to care for them. It will start at the same time as the Race for the Rivers on Aug. 25, but 20 miles farther downstream, at the Weldon Spring Access. Participants in this race will finish the same day at Frontier Park. Along the way they will compete for both speed and accuracy in tasks related to water quality monitoring.
Both races have men's solo and double, women's solo and double and mixed double classes. The races are sponsored by the St. Louis-based Greenway Network in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
A Race for the Rivers Festival will be held at Frontier Park Aug. 25, with commercial and educational displays of outdoor equipment vendors, stream conservation groups, environmental art and music.
For more information about the Race for the Rivers, visit www.racefortherivers.org or call 636-498-0772.
The original Missouri River race, the Missouri River 340, is scheduled for July 24 through 28.
As its name implies, this race spans a distance of 340 miles, from Kansas City to St. Charles.
Contestants have just 100 hours to complete the grueling course, which leaves little time for sleep or anything else besides paddling.
Last year's winner accomplished the feat in just 53 hours and 40 minutes, a record that will be difficult to beat.
Missourians are encouraged to organize a race team or sponsor an existing team. Racers need ground support teams to bring water, food and other supplies to them at checkpoints.
To get involved in preparations for the Missouri River 340, contact:
* The Missouri River Communities Network, (573) 256-2602;