Race on the River: one veteran’s trip down the Missouri

By Greencastle Consulting

There aren’t a lot of places like Greencastle where all of the employees have done at least one really cool thing–joined the military. But a lot of GACers continue to do really, really amazing things well after their time in the service.

Greencastle’s Senior Director Tom Morgan did exactly that just last week in the Midwest. The Missouri American Water MR340 is the world’s longest nonstop canoe race that’s held right in Missouri and for Tom, it was pretty appealing to sign up.

“I’ve been talking with a friend about doing it for a while and since I moved to Missouri this year we decided to sign up,” said Tom.

Proof that it doesn’t take much to convince veterans to take part in any kind of crazy challenge, including paddling 340 miles down a river with not a whole lot of canoeing experience.

The MR340 is hosted by Missouri River Relief and participants race on the historic Missouri River with the route running from Kansas City to St. Charles.

And while Tom is no stranger to tough stuff (he’s a graduate of Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault schools in the Army) paddling down a river is an entirely different challenge.

When asked what the biggest challenge was, Tom replied “Estimating water consumption and planning stops.”

But Tom didn’t do it alone. With the support of his wife, and partnership from his brother, they were able to tackle the race head-on. “It’s a team effort. My brother was my partner and my wife, Courtney, was my ground crew that kept us re-supplied with food and water,” Tom said. “She was an integral part of the planning process to ensure we got to the race with all our equipment and were resupplied with the essentials.”

Unfortunately for Tom and his brother, James, the race was cut short. The pair paddled 182 miles before race was called due to severe thunderstorms across the state that raised river levels, flooded tributaries, and sent large debris down the river, making it unnavigable.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t lessons learned.

“Challenges like this are an opportunity to really connect with other people. It also helps put other areas of our life into perspective,” said Tom.

“It’s important to try new things, learn about new stuff, and challenge yourself. It’s also a lot of fun and I discovered that there is an awesome paddling community on Missouri River.”

And even though the race was (historically) cut short, Tom can walk away being proud that he tried something new, and faced a challenge head-on with positivity and a teamwork mentality—two skills we really value at Greencastle.