Brad Daniels entered a 340-mile kayak race with the intent of making it on the podium. He succeeded by placing third overall, and first in his category, for the Missouri American Water MR340.

Daniels, a Taney County Sheriff’s deputy, first heard about the race five years ago. The Missouri 340 is an endurance race across the state. Competitors start in Kansas City and finish in St. Charles.

“I bought a kayak just to do this race,” Daniels said. “I heard about it and thought it would be a fun adventure.”

The first year he competed, Daniels finished in 67 hours.

“At that point in time, my goal was to do it once and never do it again,” he said.

With that attempt under his belt, he decided to enter the race again. Daniels said he wanted to finish the race in under 50 hours.

“At the time, there were very few people who had done it under 50 (hours),” Daniels said.

He did it and decided he wanted to try to win the race.

This year, it took 42 hours and 12 minutes for Daniels to be the first solo boat into St. Charles, and he placed third overall. Two tandem boats were ahead of him.

“I was in shock, really. My goal was to try to get third place. That’s what I had been working up to — I just wanted to get on the podium, but I was pretty skeptical that I could even do that,” Daniels said. “It ended up I was still two hours ahead of the next boat behind me.

It was a lot harder this year compared to past competitions.

“I paddled more this year than I ever have,” Daniels said. “The intensity was really high.

“That’s the hardest part — it’s a lot harder mentally than it is physically. When the boat in front of you is an hour ahead and the boat behind you is two hours behind, it’s so boring, and it’s just strange.”

Daniels said he promised his wife that he would take a break from the competition. However, he said he’s already thinking about building a team, now that he owns a three-person boat, for future competitions.

By Sara Karnes | Branson Tri-Lakes News