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 11, Sunday, (and Mother's Day)

Approximate Location May 11


May 11, 2003

Weather update from the National Weather Bureau for Hibbing, MN on Sunday night, 5/11/2003.

Tonight. Windy. With clearing skies overnight. Lows 30 to 35. North winds 20 to 30 mph. Gusting to 35 mph. Decreasing to 10 to 20 mph after midnight.
Monday. Mostly sunny. Highs 60 to 65. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.


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Text Updates

I'm forwarding this from a David Harrington... a friendly paddler who was able to paddle with Clark and Bob a little bit yesterday:


I went looking for the team upstream from Bemidji and was lucky enough to run into them in a tree clogged portion of the river. It's not exactly what comes to mind when thinking of the "mighty Mississippi". I paddled with them for a spell and took a few pictures with Clark's camera. They paddled on in to Bemidji, and I drove ahead and caught them there, where they stopped for quite a while, perhaps 30 minutes. There was a lot of fussing over gadgets on the boat, and the video camera was set up behind Clark. I don't know if they used it, however, and I think it came back off again at the next stop.

Everyone seemd to have a little niche, and there was quite a buzz at each of the stops. When we had stopped at the power dam earlier, they were 7-8 miles ahead of Krueger's record times. And, they were doing it in water that is much lower than normal for this time of the year. I paddled a bit with them on 2 more occasions, finally saying good-bye at Lake Andrusia around 8:30 p.m. They were cruising right along. I was paddling as hard as I could and could barely keep up. And of course I only paddled hard for 20 minutes at a time.

The weather wasn't the best, with brisk north winds on the day they paddled the stretch of the river that flows north. It was wet, but not overly so, and it actually was cool enough so they shouldn't have overheated. The winds are not too bad, which should allow them to go straight across Winnie, which would be a big time saver.

I took a dozen photos or so, and hope to have them developed as early as tomorrow. I'll send them your way when I can.

David Harrington
Bemidji, MN


After a rough overnight crossing of Lake Winny, the paddlers arrived at Winny Dam a few minutes ago. Very cold, very windy here. No rain at the moment but dark clouds can be seen in all directions.

All in good spirits; Bob & Clark just had a hot meal and a change of clothes, and are preparing to depart via the boat ramp below the dam.

Twenty miles ahead of world record pace, according to the stats from findu.com


Just heard from Clark - he said the crossing at Lake Winnie was quite rough, couldn't really go into it, just said it was very rough. He said he has not slept since the start, and was going to sleep now. He called around 3:05 PM CST and was at mile marker 1217. He said everyone was fine.


Looks like the team is West and just a little South of Hibbing, MN as of this writing, so I'm adding a weather update from the National Weather Bureau for Hibbing on Sunday night, 5/11/2003. Looks like better weather tomorrow for the team.

Tonight. Windy. With clearing skies overnight. Lows 30 to 35. North winds 20 to 30 mph. Gusting to 35 mph. Decreasing to 10 to 20 mph after midnight.
Monday. Mostly sunny. Highs 60 to 65. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.


After getting a friendly email from Steve Dimse of findu.com, I've updated the Where Are They Now Page to show the our Team Hope's progress (2003) vs. the 1984 record (1984) at about the equivalent time. Thanks Steve! The maps show we are quite a bit ahead at this time! Very exciting!


Spoke with my husband, Bill Pullen, earlier today (approx. 12:30pm CDT). The paddlers were ahead of schedule (about 20 miles) and everyone was doing well and in good spirits. That was about all the time we had to talk. As I hear more, I'll relay the info.


Talked with Stan about 7:30pm CT. He said all the land crew was doing fine and trying to catch a wink, or at least do some heavy resting. They are at Grand Rapids MN and expect the paddlers at 9pm.

Our trailer has returned to Stan. Somehow they figured out a way to fix the loaner truck so it could tow the trailer. Tammy & her husband have already headed for home. Then on Tuesday, they will return and re-hook up to the trailer. Stan will then drive to the Domino Ford dealership to pick up our Expedition. Once he gets back to the crew, he'll re-take possession of the trailer. Sounds like musical trailers to me. Or what was that other kids game -- stone, stone, who's got the stone? Oh well, at least they know what's going on!

Happy Mother's Day wishes were abundant today. I hope all our readers had memorable days as well.


After a blustery day, the wind is finally dying down. The road crew is waiting for the paddlers in Grand Rapids, MN, near the Blandin Paper Dam. We expect them around 10 PM tonight.

The sun is shining for the first time since the start of the race, though it is still a bit chilly (lows in the 40s tonight).

We plan on feeding Bob & Clark KFC chicken, biscuits and coleslaw when they get here tonight.

The water at the Dam is _much lower_ than it was in 2001. It makes me wonder what Sauk Rapids looks like this year...



Before I write about todays adventure with Team Hope, I have to add something about the morning of the start. We were leaving the headwaters around 6:15 am or so and stopped at a little convenience store for some directions and when we pulled out a tan Chrysler conversion van went by. We had 3 vehicles with us, my parents, and Chuck and Lisa Evert who were the other Rett parents there for the start. Well, as we were going down the highway, we caught up to the tan van and it said "Kruger Canoes....Mississippi River Rett Research challenge" or something like that and I said "That is Verlen Kruger"! I met Verlen at the first race 2 years ago and didn't realize what a legend he was until after the race started and I did some reading about him. Well, if anyone doesn't already know this, he has canoed UP the Mississippi. We pulled over and rolled down our window and his wife Jenny was driving, then Verlen popped his head up from the back seat and I was so excited to see him. I have always wanted to get that chance to visit with him about his extraordinary adventures he has been on over the years.

Well, today I got that chance, my husband, Bob and I went to the headwaters to bring Stan's camper to the road crew about oh, 70 road miles away. When we got to the landing where the road crew was, it was only about 1:00 and the paddlers weren't expected until 4:00. Verlen and Jenny were there and we got the chance to hear alot of good river stories from Verlen and tell them a little bit about our daughter Rachel. I didn't think we could stick around until Bob and Clark got there so around 2:45 we started to get ready to leave. Some of the road crew were zonked out sleeping just about anywhere, I guess after being up over 24 hours straight sleeping on the ground under a blanket will work just fine :-). When we were about ready to say goodbye at 3:00 someone yelled "Here they are" so we ended up getting to see them afterall. We headed home and they were moving on to Grand Rapids.

We are planning to meet up with them again tomorrow evening when they are in our town of Aitkin.


Well, as I'm heading off to bed, I'm thankful this Mother's Day that my daugher, Amanda, who has Rett Syndrome, fell asleep for the 1st time in about 6 months without having a seizure. She has been home bound from school with seizures for some time, we think in part due to puberty and of course, in large part due to Rett syndrome. A nice Mother's Day present. Recent medications we are working with do appear to be "the key" we were looking for to control the seizures, but it's been a long fall, winter and spring for our family. I am hoping she may be seizure free by the end of the race - that would be a nice Father's Day present for Clark when he returns home after this long journey. Happy mom's day to all you moms out there who care for someone who needs that special mom's love..... and special thanks to Team Hope and to everyone who has made this race possible.


Angie Phelps writes:

They were running four hours behind Bob's 19 day 15 hour schedule at Winny Dam, and they were only three hours behind at the next scheduled stop. Now they're only two hours and fifteen minutes behind Bob's schedule, as of their arrival at Cohassett Dam.

Tonight the road crew goes 40 river miles downstream and gets a good long rest. (Bob ordered it.)


Road Crew and friends waiting at Leech Lake/Mississippi River access

L to R, David Harrington, Verlen Kruger


Race Updates Next Day May 12