Minnesota father is teaming up with his daughter to attempt a Guinness World Record for the fastest time to paddle the length of the Mississippi River – and claim back the title he first set in 1980.

Kirk and Casey Millhone, alongside their MMZero teammates and decorated paddlers Rod Price and Bobby Johnson, will aim to canoe the length of the Mississippi River, an estimated 2,350 miles, in less than 18 days to set a new record.

Should they be successful in their attempt, Kirk, aged 62, will be the oldest person to complete the journey and set the Guinness World Record, while Casey, aged 20, will be the youngest female to do so.

Kirk said: “If your daughter says she wants to spend time with you, you think ‘no matter what this is, I’m going to get on board!’

“This attempt has been two years in the making, with the Covid-19 pandemic cutting last year’s challenge short. Mine and Casey’s relationship has grown so much while preparing, transitioning into an adult friendship rather than simply father and daughter – for me, that’s been fantastic.”

Casey, a sociology student at Colorado College, added: “Paddling is a love that we’ve both always had as individuals, but now it’s a passion we share.

“To become the youngest female to achieve the record would be incredible, but for me this is just the beginning, whether we get the record or not.”

“To become the youngest female to achieve the record would be incredible, but for me this is just the beginning, whether we get the record or not.”

The journey is familiar territory for Kirk; in 1980, he set the world record for canoeing the length of the river, along with his best friend, Steve Eckelkamp, who sadly died in 2017.

Kirk said: “A lot has changed since our attempt in 1980 – technology, for a start, has come on in leaps and bounds.

“Then we were two twenty-something guys just paddling down the river, but now, with all the logistics we need to keep in mind, it feels a lot closer to someone trying to make the first trip to the moon.

“I was a similar age to Casey when we achieved the record, and it completely changed the trajectory of my life. I realised that I could achieve things that I thought may not be possible, and that if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything.

“The challenge transformed my life and now that I’m a father, I hope it can have the same impact for Casey.”

“The challenge transformed my life and now that I’m a father, I hope it can have the same impact for Casey.”

Team members Bobby Johnson and Rod Price are also no strangers to a challenge – both hold a number of prestigious accolades in paddling.

Paddler, writer and speaker Rod has won over 300 races in all types of paddle craft and is the only paddler to complete North America’s five longest distance races. In 2019, he won three gold medals for Team USA at the World Dragon Boat Championships in Thailand.

Meanwhile Bobby, who owns his own car dealership, has set multiple course records in competitions including the Suwannee 230 canoe race and Alabama 650, and won his class in the Everglades Challenge in both 2019 and 2020.

The team will aim to begin their journey on Thursday, April 22nd – which happens to be both Earth Day and Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the United States. The route will begin at the Mississippi headwaters in Lake Itasca, Northern Minnesota, and end at mile marker zero in New Orleans.

To beat the current world record, MMZero will need to paddle at an average of 6mph around the clock, with three team members paddling and one sleeping in the boat for three hours at a time.

Kirk said: “It’s a race against exhaustion.

“We need to try to sustain ourselves with enough sleep and enough calories to keep going – it’s going to be extremely tough.”

MMZero will be backed by a dedicated support crew, which includes Kirk’s wife and Casey’s mother, Lisa Millhone. The crew will follow the paddling team on a pontoon boat and in an RV to provide food, charge equipment and do laundry.

Kirk said: “If we break the record, Guinness will likely only put down the names of the four paddlers, but that’s absolutely not true.

“All of the people on the support team are essential for this trip – it’s as much of a logistic challenge as it is an athletic one, and the effort they’ve put in and the support they’ve given us so far has been truly humbling.”

As well as achieving the record, the team also hopes to raise awareness of the plight of the Mississippi River, and encourage supporters to take measures to preserve it.

For more information on the team, and to follow their journey, visit www.mmzero.org

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