2003 World Record Set:
18 days, 4 hours, 51 minutes!

The Mississippi River Challenge for
Rett Syndrome & Leukodystrophy

- May 10, 2003 6 AM to May 28, 10:51 AM 2003-

A 2,348 Mile Marathon to Support a Marathon of Research!

Bob Bradford, forward position, Clark Eid, in the back, approaching L & D 24

May 10


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Text Updates from our Race Web Log During the race

Just got a call from Don Keller (in New Orleans) who was called by Andrew Gribble, road crew member - Team Hope began the World Record Challenge on time and are well on their way! We will be updating the online map manually from time to time when the APRS/GPS system is not in use or not able to send a good enough signal to the system at findu.com.... Just wanted to let everyone know the race is on and we will see some map updates soon.....

Also heard from Tammy Hanson this morning, Team Hope Roadie who lives in Aitken MN. Tammy's daughter, Rachel, has Rett Syndrome. Tammy said she was waiting at the Headwaters of the Mississippi this morning, 5:30 AM, 5:40 AM, 5:45 AM, 5:50 AM .... no Team Hope in site.... just as she started wondering "Was today the start? Is there more than one place to start?" Team Hope drove up, unloading incredibly fast, the paddlers got there boat in the water and got going at 6 AM... not much fan fare, not much time! Too much partying at the Bonanza last night!

Mary Potter



We got to the headwaters and sent them on their way at 6 am...after a couple quick pictures of course. Then we headed towards Coffee Pot Landing to have some coffee and rolls. This is where Clark's wish came true and we lowered food to him from the bridge. But, now that I think of it, Bob was first in the canoe and got to the bags of food first........hhhm, I wonder if Clark got any of those goodies!

The weather held out pretty good and didn't start the heavy mist until we were packed up and ready to head out again. This was going to be our last visit for the day and we were going to head home from there, but in true Hanson form, we were addicted once again to these guys and their river adventure. We headed down some dirt roads in a caravan of about 4 vehicles to find the next meeting spot where the road crew was going to have lunch for the paddlers. It was a good thing that Bob's wife Janet is on her toes and one step ahead of Bob, she had beef stew all ready to go when they showed up 45 minutes ahead of when we thought they would be through. They got their bowl of stew and Bob got a quick hug from Janet before paddling out once again. I have to add that Janet can run pretty fast, once she heard that Bob needed a hug she dropped everything and ran for the river bank, it was pretty neat to see. Bob's daughter and grandkids were there also to cheer them on and they are pretty proud of their Grandpa, that is for sure.

We headed home from there but oh darn, I have Janet's coat, she left it in our vehicle when we were warming up so guess we a go find her and give it back.......Ok, I confess, I was kind of glad when I saw it there so I knew we would have to be Team Hope groupies tomorrow also!

I will have more stories to share but I better stop now, I think I wrote enough!

Tammy Hanson


Just fed the paddlers dinner in Bemidji. They left 2 minutes ago for the trip across Lake Bemidji. Light drizzle. Temp in the mid 40s.



Just got a call from Road Crew Captain Stan Hanson. Things are going well from a scheduling perspective, but sounds like some of the electronics are broken, and his truck is in the shop for repair. Nevertheless, the paddlers are on or slightly ahead of their own schedule and doing well. Stan said the road crew was heading towards the "other" side of Lake Bemidji as he expected the paddlers to be there soon, and then they would be heading towards Lake Cass. I hope some of the folks can get some sleep, I'm sure it's been a very exciting day for all after that big party at the Bonanza last night!


I'd like to remind folks to keep in mind current weather conditions now, vs. what they will be towards the end of the race in the New Orleans area.

If this race is like our last one, temperatures towards the end of the race will reach high into the 80s and 90s during the day, with extremely high humidity. Clark (paddler) said sleeping in the boat became very difficult towards the end because of the high heat and lack of air circulation. Hopefully Bob and Clark won't freeze tonight when they take turns sleeping and paddling (don't worry, those Kokatat dry suits will keep them safe and warm - special thanks to our Kokatat sponsors!) Right now the paddlers have finished crossing Lake Bemidji and are going towards Lake Cass.


Just spoke with Stan 2 or 3 times -- the satellite phone kept losing its connection. As best as I can put his calls together, turns out the solution they reached last night at the Domino Ford dealership lasted only for the night. His truck wouldn't start again this morning. But after jump starting it, he was able to drive it back to the shop. He's currently in a F-150 XLT 4x4 loaner from the dealership. However, all the running around meant Stan had to miss the start of the race, as well as the famous shoot thru the culvert! He finally caught up with the rest of the crew and the paddlers at Bemidji, where they all had dinner. Stan hopes to meet up next with the paddlers just before Cass Lake, but if he misses them, he'll have to head for Knutson Dam and hopefully catch up with them there.


After the next meeting, he said he'll be heading back for the campground where they were before the race started. Tomorrow morning, he'll meet Tammy Hanson and her husband. They have graciously offered to hook up and tow the support trailer until Stan can get his Expedition out of the shop and back on the road, which should be later sometime on Tuesday. The Domino Ford shop has to special order a part, but it can't be ordered until Monday and won't arrive until Tuesday. What a way for one of the support vehicles to start the race! All we can do is say a special "Thank You" to Tammy (and her husband) for so unselfishly spending her Mother's Day! We should all send her a bouquet of flowers!