It’s a fluid situation.
That’s how Scott Mansker, race director for the Missouri 340 kayak race, describes the current standing of this year’s race. High river levels from rain have made the possibility of having the annual event on the Missouri River a no-go.
Instead, the race, or at least a version of it, could be held on the Kansas River. Mansker said race organizers are considering three options for keeping currently registered racers happy. The first involves what Mansker said would probably be a 100-mile race on the Kansas River. The race would begin in Manhattan and either pass through or end in Lawrence. Mansker said the event, tentatively named the Kawrnivore 100, would take place this summer to give entrants who have already taken the time off for the usual Missouri event something to do during that time.
The second option, according to Mansker, would be to postpone the Missouri River race until early to mid-August, when the river is expected be back below flood levels.
The third option is to possibly do both events during the next few months. The race has drawn much positive attention from towns along the Missouri River and Mansker said he had already received similar feedback from several towns along the Kaw. Mansker said he planned to drive portions of the proposed course before any official race plans could be confirmed. Traffic has been the biggest hurdle to clear during past events, with about 500 cars following the race from town to town.
“It’s a traveling circus,” Mansker said.
Though Mansker has not yet spoken with the city of Lawrence, he said he was cautiously optimistic about the opportunity. Megan Gilliland, communications manager for the city, said the event would have to go before the City Commission before it could be approved.
Mansker said he hoped to make a kayak race from Manhattan to Lawrence a yearly occurrence in late May, tapping into the rivalry between the two cities.