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 21, Wednesday

Approximate Location May 21






















































Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Paddlers arrived Cape Girardeau, MO at 23h45. Both in good spirits, made _incredible_ time between Wittenberg and the Cape. Next big push is towards the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, which they will reach tomorrow sometime.

Almost no wind here, but cold (40s).


Stan is on the phone, 7:55 PM CST, telling me very funny stories.... apparently Clark was attacked by a fish.... Andrew Gribble was recognized in the grocery store several times from being on the news in St. Louis.... Clark demanded a shower after being attacked by that fish, he didn't care if the water was cold... it was great seeing Dana last night.... even though Stan did get in trouble (but not too much) for calling her during the TV show 24 to come meet them.... Stan also said something about a chiquita banana sticker being worn on a road crew member's forehead for the greater part of the day, but you'll have to guess which one..... and Stan admitted he actually got some decent sleep today ... Bob and Clark had just taken off from the last meeting point as Stan was calling me - just after Clark had called out "Someone call Mary" but before Bob called out "Where are we meeting next?" while we were talking..... Good luck everyone!

Paddlers just left Wittenberg. Headed downstream 30 miles.


Noah wants to plan a surprise party for Clark when he gets back home. He plans on buying a tool kit when he gets home or building him a model of a canoe :-). After he thought about it, he decided he might get a tool kit for himself too :-). I told Noah we could have a party and invite all the folks who helped us and called us when Clark was away. He is clearly making plans for the big ta-doo!

Amanda has spontaneously yelled "Daddy" about 10 times today and laughed..... she must be getting the vibe that the record is being smashed!

Guess we are all getting stir crazy here....

Glad to see the team screaming along at 308 miles ahead of the 1984 record. When Kurt Zimmermann called today he said "Well, they could take a day off if they had too at this point and still beat the record!". Good luck Team Hope!

I talked to Mom earlier today and they were leaving St. Genevieve. She said the paddlers left at about 1:10 pm and were paddling about 40 miles. This would put them around Wittenburg somewhere. At the speed that they have been traveling, this would most likely put them there between 7:00 and 9:00 tonight. I've been trying to reach them but they must be in a bad area for the phones. (That or they are avoiding my calls) At Genevieve, they were about 16 hours behind Dad's goal schedule. What was he thinking when he made that up?!?

We're Famous! [well, sort of]
Two different groups of people spotted me standing next to our support vehicle in the parking lot of a grocery store in Saint Genevieve, MO today. Both had seen the news reports of our event on St. Louis televsion stations last night.

We are currently waiting for Bob & Clark at a boat ramp in Wittenberg, MO. I am under a covered pavillion (which has TONS of power for me to run my laptop, and charge my numerous electronic gadgets), and have a clear view of the river, which is some forty feet to the east. Across the river is a power station. All in all a nice spot for a meeting place for paddlers and crew. Both Team Kruger and Team Double Helix fed their crews here during the 2001 event.

I pulled into my garage this morning just after my 5am alarm clock sounded. "What?" you say! Well, it all started last evening at 6pm when Jon Young arrived from Michigan. We ran out to Sam's Club to pick up items on the list Stan had just phoned to me. Then we ate pizza and watched my favorite show "24" while waiting for Stan to call again. He finally did at 9:10pm with one heck of a surprise! The paddlers were WAY ahead of schedule. It quickly became apparent that the 10am-to-2pm-Wednesday-afternoon arrival at the Arch in St. Louis was totally blown away!

The support crew was under the east end of the highway 67 bridge in Alton, Illinois. He thought it might be nice if I could drive Jon up to them there (about 35 miles NW of our home), instead of waiting for them to arrive at the Arch (about 19 miles due west of our home). Jon and I got ready and finally hit the road about 9:35. By the time we gased up and left town it was almost 9:45. We joined the crew in Alton just as Clark & Bob were paddling across the river after having gone thru Lock & Dam 26. They hit the riverbank right around 10:30pm.

It felt so good for me to join them! I'd forgotten how truly hectic things are when the paddlers arrive. Everyone pitched in and did his or her thing. Bob & Clark were soon eating and relaxing in the trailer. They are only 20 river miles from the Arch and the way they'd been flying, they could be there in no time. It was decided that we'd alert the media to the fact of their arrival at about 3am, and hope the reporters were there by then.

Clark & Bob got back into the water at 11:55pm Tuesday. Crew packed up and left for St. Louis, arriving at the Arch about 12:30am Wednesday. After readying everything for the paddlers' arrival, Jon and Bill got a few interrupted zzz's, but everyone else was too wound to even try to sleep. About 1:30am, Michael F. Clark joined us. He had been kind enough to scout the Chain of Rocks for us to find the best way for Bob & Clark to navigate that area. (How do you like that "us" talk? Sounds like I'm back on the road crew, huh!) It can actually be too low to paddle thru. Many thanks to Mike for that effort, as well as for joining us so early Wednesday morning! Bret, the Channel 4 cameraman, showed up about 2:45am. Stan talked with him quite a bit as the 3am hour rolled around.

Finally at 3:05am, Clark & Bob's canoe light came into view -- they were still quite a long way off! The next five minutes seemed to take forever, but at 3:10am, they pulled onto shore, with Bret filming the entire time. Hectic-city once again emerged. About 3:20am, Amy, a reporter from Channel 5, showed up. Stan, Janet and I talked with her for a few minutes, and then she was off to find the paddlers. They conversed for quite a while, and soon Amy's cameraman showed up. Down to the canoe everyone went for the on-camera interview, after which Amy left. Her cameraman stayed until Bob & Clark got back into the water. He got some close up shots of the canoe, including the photograph of Bob's grandson Michael who died last summer from adrenoleukodystrophy. The picture was laminated and taped onto the canoe right in front of where Bob sits. Always the reminder as to why they are doing this.

At 3:40am, Clark & Bob pulled away from the Arch, with the Channel 5 cameraman filming their disappearance into the dark. Then the pick-up and pack-up started. When we were finally almost ready to leave, Janet discovered that her van wouldn't start. We think it's from all of Andrew's electronics draining her system while she's parked. Ooooh boy..... Anyway, got it jump started and finally at 4:30am, everyone was ready to leave. Stan, Bill Pullen, Jon Young, Janet Bradford and Andrew Gribble headed south. I headed east, back to home. :-( It was so hard to head off in that direction. Despite the lack of sleep, I wanted so badly to continue south to Mile Zero. But this year it just isn't meant to be.

I stopped at Walmart on my way home to pick up a blank VHS tape. After I pulled into the garage at 5:10am, I immediately started recording Channel 5's early show, as their cameraman said it would be on between 5am and 7am. A few minutes later, a friend called me to say she saw Stan on TV. I knew I'd missed it! I was so disappointed, but my friend reminded me that they might repeat it in the second hour of the show. There was still hope.... In the meantime, I switched to Channel 4. Sure enough, at about 5:40, a segment was aired -- and taped! Back to Channel 5, and about 6:15, there it was again! I'm so happy!

And beginning to crash. After making a couple quick calls to my office, and sending off a couple emails, I hit the sack about 7:15am. I hoped no one would tell the crew I'd actually gone to bed..... Somebody must have squealed, though, because Stan called a couple hours later just to tell me that at 9:25am, the paddlers were leaving Crystal City, south of St. Louis. He also said Channel 2 reached him about meeting them at the Arch -- oops... After we hung up, I rolled over and ... shhhhh ... tried to go back to sleep. Then Channel 11 called me, wondering if we had a closer timeframe of when the paddlers would be arriving -- oops again. Oh well.... Could have had television coverage over the entire St. Louis metro area, but I guess half of it is just fine! Rolled over again.... When the phone next rang, it was once again Stan, to tell me that the paddlers had stopped at St. Genevieve (56 river miles south of the Arch in St. Louis), and at 1:20pm they were on their way once more. Time to quit rolling over.

It's been years since I've gone 26 hours without sleep -- okay, maybe only since 2001 when I was a support crew member for Team Kruger in the Great Mississippi River Race for Rett Syndrome. But I'm here to tell ya, I'd do it again! In heartbeat! Exhausting, but exhilarating, and couldn't be for a better cause!

Considering that Bob & Clark stopped two times for probably half hour each, that means they actually paddled for 8-1/2 hours. They're paddling, on average 6.6mph. Taking the two stops into consideration, it's 5.9mph. In either case -- NOT BAD! And if I recall one of Stan's statements correctly, they are well over 200 miles ahead of world record pace!


Just heard from Clark 4:25 PM - he gave me his lat/long from the water - I updated the maps and see that they are well over 200 miles ahead of the 1984 record, closer to 300 than 200..... Seems like they just just suddenly surged, but perhaps the days are flying faster than I thought. Go Team Hope!

Clark sounded well, but very tired. Hopefully he is due for a sleep soon. He was really just calling to check on the kids, as Amanda has had an ongoing ear infection that is causing secondary problems, and Noah was suddenly upset last night about his trip, really for the first time. Good news is the doc said today that Amanda's ear infection is finally clearing, and Noah seemed fine after Clark's morning call today and is back to ignoring dad when he calls "at first", but then decides he will chat with him after all :-).

I also got a phone call from Bill Schmitz today, a friend of ours who lives in CT and who was on the road crew in our 2001 Mississippi River Race. Bill and I would like to plot to get to the New Orleans for the celebration dinner, but it's unlikely to happen....still, we both wished we could go. It will be a great party! Bill said he is watching the site and loves the updates, and wanted to let Clark know many folks here in CT are watching the race. Thanks Bill!

Just heard from Clark, they are well south of St. Louis Missouri. I sent a map update to the findu.com program to indicate this, and the maps look good "for now". We have had some problems with the automatic position radio system to the point that Clark has removed it from the race boat. We will now manually update the Where Are They Now page at all time rather than spend more time or effort to get the APRS to work. It was a great concept, but I think the radio transmission from the river (very low) just could not work successfully enough. Nevertheless, the programs that Steve Dimse at findu.com allow us to send in "manual updates" to update the maps and we will continue to do that. Just letting folks know all is well, but the maps may not be updating as often.

The text updates in fact may tell you where the team is more recently than the maps - depending on when you check things.

Clark sounded good, said the road crew is extremely busy, he is getting ready to sleep and was very tired when we spoke, but doing well. They are well over 200 miles ahead of the 1984 record and overall, feeling fine. They are expecting a dramatic increase in road crew assistance now as Jon Young just joined, Angie and crew are heading back in their Suburban, and Denise and Mike Bradford are joining soon as well!

Good luck everyone!

I finally found the write-up on Channel 4's website - they must have just posted it. Once you log onto KMOV.com, about half way down the page in the right-side column called "As Seen on News4" there is a headline called "Canoeing for a Cure". Clicking on that will bring up the following verbiage.

Canoeing for a cure

St. Louis (KMOV) -- Two adventurers are attempting to break a new speed record by navigating the entire length of the Mississippi River in a canoe.

Bob Bradford and Clark Eid are making the voyage to raise money and awareness of Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy research.

The pair will attempt to make the 2,348-mile voyage in fewer than 20 days.

You can track their trip and learn more about their cause at their Web site.

Click here to visit their official Web site

I just found out that Channel 5 (NBC) ran a snippet this morning also! I believe their coverage actually had Clark speaking (I did not personally see this one). I will contact both Channel 4 and Channel 5 to see if we could possibly get copies of their film.

This is sooooo exciting!!

Yea!! Channel 4 (CBS) came through! They covered Bob & Clark at the Arch. Bill called me about midnight saying that Bob & Clark would probably be at the Arch around 2 a.m. and that an hour before they were due at the Arch, the crew would call the media for local coverage. Apparently, they got ahold of Channel 4, because as I was getting ready for work this morning, the story came on the TV (5:36 a.m.). The story ran again about 6:40 a.m. (It's possible it will run throughout the day.) The newscasters ended the story saying that to find out more, you could go to their Website at KMOV.com. I did that and haven't yet found the story - but I'm still searching for it.

Anyway, I called Steve Perron, Channel 4 News Producer, this morning and thanked him for his help.


9 days and 20 hours to reach St. Louis. You guys are flying!
Compared to the 2001 attempt Bob and Clark gained two full days between Muscatine (Sa/Su night) and St. Louis and are now more then 4 1/2 days ahead.

Paddlers and crew under the Arch in St. Louis. Paddlers arrived here 02h10. Bob & Clark are currently being interviewed by a TV reporter. Clear and cold here (upper 40s?) with a moderate breeze.