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I-40 bridge shutdown impacts canoers attempting to break world record

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A group of paddlers is attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the fastest canoe trip down the Mississippi River.

The Mississippi Speed Record team has been paddling 24/7 since leaving Minnesota on May 4 and documenting their stops along the way.

“The crew basically never stops,” Todd Foster said, spokesperson for Mississippi Speed Record. “During the day, they got 3 paddlers and one person will take a 4 hour break. Now at night, two paddlers will take a break.”

The team leader, Scott Miller, attempted to break the record back in 2018,

but was unsuccessful.

As of Monday evening, the team is six and a half hours ahead of the tentative world record pace.

It hasn’t come without a few roadblocks, like the I-40 bridge shutdown backing up barge traffic down the Mississippi River.

“Over the last 24 hours, they’ve been paddling through that neck of the woods,” Foster said. “They’ve had to deal with more barges than they usually would or at least closer together. And canoeing next to a barge is not for the faint of heart. They kick off some really big waves and it can be quite dangerous. Fortunately, we got a great support crew. We actually have three support boats with the canoe. They got marine radio, and they’re able to talk to the barge captains.”

Luckily, they’ve made it through, but they still have about 500 miles to go.

“They’re in great spirits. They’re feeling very confident, but it’s still a long way,” Foster said.

If they stay on pace, the team expects to wrap up their 2296 mile journey Friday, May 21 at 8 p.m. central time.

Click here to follow the live tracker.

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