Avid paddler who dropped out of MR340 river race dies in his sleep while camping

An avid paddler who dropped out of the Missouri American Water MR340 river race died in his sleep, a race official said Wednesday morning.

The paddler, whose name was not being released so that family could be notified, had competed in the first day of the race Tuesday.

The man and his boat partner withdrew from the race after the partner decided not to continue, said Scott Mansker, the race director and founder.

The two dropped from the race at Lexington, Mo. The paddler and ground crew decided to continue to follow the race and were camping overnight in Miami, Mo., Mansker said.

“They went to check on him this morning, and he never woke up,” Mansker said.

The race, billed as the longest nonstop river race in the world, started Tuesday at Kaw Point Park.

It is a four-day, 340-mile trek across Missouri from Kansas City to St. Charles.

Mansker described the man who died as an avid canoeist who worked with organizations that had put on big canoe events.

“He died doing exactly what he wanted to do,” Mansker said. “His friends are taking comfort in that.”

Mansker wouldn’t release the man’s age but said he was retired.

The paddler hadn’t competed in the Missouri American Water MR340 before but had done other events on the Missouri River.

“His friends said he loved the Missouri River because it was so fast,” Mansker said. “He loved to go fast.”

Competitors and participants in the race were being notified through a forum at

race’s website