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This Kansas City couple bonds over racing the MR340 every year

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Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
The MR340 2023 river race starts on Tues., Aug. 1 at Kaw Point in Kansas City and ends Fri., Aug. 4 in St. Charles.

Courtney and Phil Wasson are not professional boat racers, but for several years the duo has competed together in the MR340, the world’s longest non-stop river race. It begins in Kansas City and goes for 340 miles down the Missouri River.

The MR340 is the longest non-stop river race in the world. You heard that right: non-stop. Every August, hundreds of boats start on the Missouri River at Kansas City's Kaw Point and,if they finish, end 340 miles away in St. Charles.

“There's beautiful things along the river, moments where it starts to be dusk and the swallows are flying," Courtney Wasson, a Kansas City resident and racer, told KCUR's Up To Date.

Wasson and her husband, Phil, have competed in the MR340 as a husband-wife duo since 2018. Their team name is "Strangers in the Night."

“There are things other than your muscles being tired and you're sore and it's hot or windy. And that's what keeps me coming back," Wasson says.

The Wassons will be competing again in this year's race, which kicks off on Tuesday, August 1.

  • Courtney Wasson, racer
  • Phil Wasson, racer
  • Scott Mansker, MR340 co-founder
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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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