WIND, HEAT, BUGS, AND RAIN COULDN’T STOP SUBARU DRIVER KATE PFEFFERKORN FROM CROSSING THE FINISH LINE OF THE 2008 MISSOURI RIVER 340 WITH A SMILE.
The Missouri River 340 endurance paddling race crosses the state of Missouri. Competitors start in Kansas City and finish in St. Charles. “It’s the world’s longest nonstop river race,” Kate said.
“This is the third year I have competed in this event, and every time I have done it solo.” Kate finished 2008’s grueling course in just 50 hours, paddling a 21-foot, carbon fiber racing canoe and sleeping only one-and-a-half hours. Her record-breaking performance earned top rank in the women’s solo division.
In 2007, Kate’s sister Jodi, a filmmaker, made the documentary Down River & Up Hill about the Missouri River 340. Jodi filmed from her brother Gabe’s boat, which he piloted.
“The original plan was for them to stay with me throughout the race,” Kate said. “But I lost them after the first night. They stopped to sleep and never caught back up to me – and they had a motor! All I had was a paddle.”
“My Subaru matches my lifestyle and enables me to pursue a demanding and exciting training schedule,” Kate said. “At any given time, I have my boat on the cross bars or my bike inside the Forester, ready for the next training run.” Her 2008 Forester also doubles as transportation for her support team.
When she’s not paddling, Kate runs triathlons, local 5K races, and marathons. She lightheartedly calls her day job as a chemical engineer a fundraiser for her activities.
“The closest family member is a three-and-a-half-hour drive away,” Kate said. “If I’m going to visit family, yet stay true to my training schedule, you can bet I’ll have my bike in the backseat and a canoe on my rooftop.”