Saturday, October 24, 2009

A story...

The Adventures of Super Boo and Hannah Too
by Brian Weber

It started with a phone call, June 30th, 2007 Therese's Birthday.

" Bri, I have to tell you something, I have cancer. Stage lll breast cancer and the prognosis doesn't look good. We need to tell the girls, ....together."

After surgery, chemo and continued treatment and unwavering support from family and friends, Therese is a survivor. When this terrible disease touched our family it started a chain of events that some call magical, others heroic; I call it the Adventures of Super Boo and Hannah Too.

Marissa 11 years old looking for answers, approached me with the idea of participating in some sort a fundraiser, finding a way to raise awareness and money to find a cure for breast cancer. Our first event was tackling The 305 mile 2008 Everglades Challenge.

We accomplished our goal of bring awareness and raising money for her mom by our participation. Marissa (Watertribe tribal name Super Boo) 11 at the time and I had completed the journey 7 days 6 hours and 20 minutes. Epic in it's own right had instilled core values and determination found in very few 11 year olds. One could say she was on a mission.

Boo's mission included contacting Hannah Grow, a young aspiring athlete, an adventurer and the best of friends for her next under-taking. Their mission; to compete in the tandem women's division of the 2009 running of the MR340 while raising awareness for a cure for breast cancer.

After the father's caught wind of their reckless texting and late night covert phone calls we quickly came on board to address some of the barriers for such an under-taking. Liability and safety were of the up-most concern... Then to establish goals and objectives.

Over the course of a week we put together a safety protocol which would include a "shadow" of the girls as they make their way down the Missouri River. The Dad's would follow along in an tandem boat offering assistance in case of emergency. To be redundant in our safety protocol we included a third boat by enlisting Mark Przedwojewski from Kruger Canoes to shadow us as well.

This proved to be one of our best moves as we would learn over the months and months of training Mark would able to share his knowledge and expertise with the girls in a way that would only seem as badgering if coming from the fathers.

Our goal: Raise $10,000.00 for Susan G.Komen for the cure by successfully completing the MR340.

We knew the MR340 in a few short years had global appeal and our intent epic, but would it be enough for Scott Mansker event director allow 12 and 14 year old girls to paddle the Mighty Mo.? Would sponsors see the value in such an under-taking?

As luck would have it, Scott reviewed our safety protocol and agreed to allow the girls to participate. It was time to push forward with some serious planning.

We gathered frequently and with an abundance of emails we created numerous to-do lists. During this process we knew we needed more people directly involved with our campaign to make it successful. Rounding out the team, we enlisted Jenny Grow as Team Manager and Emily Weber Team Photographer.
A banner move for us as Jenny took on, fund-raising, press releases, land crew logistics - webmaster - blogger - The web was our conduit to others with similar missions. Emily, Marissa's big sister would also be there for moral and bank support.

Our campaign - "Race to Heal" gained global appeal. We had groups and individuals jumping on board and helping anyway they could. It was magical. Sponsors, and donations began to pour in.

We trained the girls vigorously. From high wind open water up-hill paddles to ghosting through the stillness of the night. Group training paddles were always 5 hours long or more.

We held non paddling gatherings as well, attending Canoeacopia paddling expo, sleep-overs, campfires and just hanging out. Our objective was to get the girls comfortable in all social situations and build confidence in their support for one another.

On one night paddle... we rafted up to grab a bite to eat and have a motivational discussion with the girls who where feeling the strains and monotony of training. In the darkness the ding of the Blackberry. It was 11:00pm. We had mail. The message; We just got world that we had a $2000.00 donation to find a cure and team vehicle donated by ELM Consulting LLC. This was highly motivating for the girls as we pushed into the night for another 3 hours.

We received lots of support from other competitors. It was evident that so many had a stake in the girls success. So many touched by cancer. So much good information and support came our way.

Not your typical teenage girls, both Marissa and Hannah have done 100 mile paddles before and had followed their fathers into the wilderness on many occasion. No strangers to adventure, they both have extensive back-country experience. We knew this would benefit us during the MR340. But would it be enough? The MR340 can be very humbling. It has a way of choosing who finishes and who returns to try again.

We had one lead up event, the Hugh Heward in Michigan. A 55 miler with multiple portages. It was only a day event, but it would allow us to test out our pre and post racing planning, work out any kinks with support, assess and document what food the girls would eat. Their comfort was key.

Fingers crossed for harsh weather.

As luck would have it; cold miserable pelting rain and high winds were on the menu. To our amazement this only fueled their desire. At one point we let the girls get a head of us to let them work on team dynamics. What they did was punish us by picking up the pace, they pushed hard. It took us the better part of an hour to catch them. Mark Tom and myself just smiled and with a "holly crap" we began to realize their true potential.

Another notable training run was a 5 hour high wind and wave paddle on the Illinois River. Our goal was to get the girls awareness up around barges. We got more then we bargained for. This was the defining moment, a brutal paddle in the worst of conditions. It was clear to us that there was nothing the MR340 could dish out that we couldn't over come. The girls began to believe.

The MR340
It was all happening. The hours of training all the planning meant nothing now, we were in the moment.

There is so much positive energy around the MR340. You could see it in the competitors eyes, the excitement of it all. It's a feeling that must be experienced at least once, being a part of something bigger and greater then yourself. A brotherhood of sorts.

Our on water experience was magical. We worked our way down river. The girls in sync taking direction from Mark who was keen on keeping their paddle stroke clean and efficient. Hydration and fueling of the muscles that would take us to our destination was paramount. We had it dialed in.

We had a couple dances with buoys on the river. I must say I enjoyed the panic look on Tom's face as we skirted danger in the moonlight. The Checkpoints fell one after another as we gained momentum and realized our dream.

Our Checkpoints buffets and support by our land-crew was nothing less then spectacular. We felt like royalty as they greeted us and took care of our every need.

The Low's
Our event was not without it's lows. We had the 5 hour energy drink fiasco, where Marissa drank too many too close together. We had a unhappy camper with an upset stomach for a few hours. Hannah held it together and paddled as Marissa recovered.

Sleep deprivation caught up with us at one point. With 3 nights on the river We were on a 6 hour, 4 hour, 2 hour schedule. But the sleep monster caught us. It took the better part of an hour to get Hannah back in the canoe to push into the night. The girls worked it out. Hannah slept in the bow, Marissa paddled the next few hours on her own.

Both lows demonstrated an unbelievable feats of determination and commitment to the task at hand. A golden moment for fathers as they saw their daughters work together and rise to the occasion.

The High's
There were many. The laughs the tears of joy. The opportunity to share this experience with your daughter's, so full filling. Not to mention the reaching of our pledge goal of raising over $11,000,00 for Susan G. Komen for a cure.

During the last push from Klondike with 27 or so miles to go, we realized that if we could keep the pace up, we could finish in under 80 hours. This was never an objective of ours, but with a news reporter saying it was inconceivable, we posed the challenge to the girls. - "let go for it."

The girls fueled and rested at Klondike hammered for the next 27 miles. They were on fire, passing canoes and kayaks one after another. The cheers and support from the competitors fueled their resolve.

The finish surreal. Hundreds of on lookers cheering the girls in. Grown men brought to tears, two girls now veterans of the MR340. We had done it, 78 hours and 48 minutes.

It didn't end there, at the awards ceremony the girls were greeted with a 5 minute standing ovation and a third place women's tandem finish. A dream realized.

The girls hold 5th spot in the MR340 record books.

Women's Tandem:

1 Di McHenry & Natalie Courson (2007) 61:09
2 Cami Ronchetto and Linda LaFontaine (2009) 61:50
3 Carol Heddinghaus and Abigail Tuttle (2009) 65:02
4 TJ Adkins & Chris Jump (2008) 78:00
5 Hannah Grow and Marissa Weber (2009) 78:48
6 Edie Jackson & Christina Glauner (2007) 100:32

When you look to the future, look to the world's children and let them guide you. The have the answers in their hopes and dreams.

The End.

Monday, August 10, 2009


78 hours 48 minutes!! Ya Hoo!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

We're off!! Gone Paddling!!

Missouri River at dusk
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all - Helen Kellar

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Follow along - MR 340 Team Kruger/RP Lumber

To follow along using SPOT - Click Here

Event starts August 4th - August 7th, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In the News!!

Click here for the video from Channel 19 WHOI Peoria, Ill. - Click me!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blog for the upcoming MR340

We have a new blog up and running for the up-coming MR340 in August. It is being managed by Jenny Grow, Hannah's mom who will be running bank for the girls. Here is the link, hope you follow along.

A big thank you to Jenny who has taken on marketing, promotion, set up interviews and working with our media outlets. We desperately needed someone to take lead on this. Thanks Jenny Outstanding!!

We will be using SPOT navigation as well, so check back to get the link so you can see live coverage via google maps and SPOT.

Also we have a direct link to donate to Susan G. Komen upper right corner. We have been accepting checks up until now, but this just seems more efficient for all.

The adventure is on!! - The Capt'n

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Team Kruger / RP Lumber - "Race to heal"

Team Kruger RP Lumber " Race to heal" members
Front: Mark P. - Kruger canoes - Left: Tom G. Brian W.
Right: Hannah G. Marissa W.
photo: Jenny Grow -
A shot of the team as we come to the first portage. Hugh Heward 50 - 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

One for the record books

It was quite a finish as Marissa (Boo) and Hannah (Hashbrown) finish the HH50. 11:57:17 is their finish time. They kept the boat moving over 4 miles an hour which includes 1 1/2 hours of portaging 3 dams, lunch stop, and a visit with Jim Woodruff and friends on the Grand River.
Boo and Hashbrown make a donation to the Verlen Kruger Memorial and have a brick made that will border the bronze statue at the Portland Riverside Park.
Big thank you to our sponsors - Kruger Canoes / RP LUMBER / Kialoa Paddles. The girls appreciated Mark taking the time and spending the day with him on the Grand River, Loved the fact that RP Lumber embraces their dream of a breast cancer free world, and last but not least really liked the Kialoa Paddles.
There was lots of drama on the water - thunderstorms, high winds, raging water, the girls had quite the experience. The biggest supporter besides the Dads, was Jenny Grow that ran support and met us at the portages and bridges, offered tons of encouragement.
There is quite a pictorial on the Facebook Missouri 340 Breast Cancer Awareness groups page. Feel free to join us there as the girls ramp up training and experience for the MR 340 in August!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hugh Heward 50

We are off to paddle our first event leading up to the MR340. The challenge starts on Saturday at 7:00am. Follow along at .
We'll have a recap of our adventure when we return here on our blog. Also you can join our facebook group Missouri 340 we have like 175 members.
Thanks for everyone's support!!
Boo and Hannah

Monday, February 16, 2009

Team Kruger / RP Lumber - Race to Heal

Hannah and Boo - Now

116 DAYS - MR340

Marissa and Hannah - then









Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How cool is this.

Our paddles arrived from Kialoa Paddles today. Well actually yesterday, but my dad didn't check the mail and they sat on our front porch all night!

They are really nice paddles, I love them! Thank you Mr. Chun!! My dad talks about them on his blog at:


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome R.P. Lumber

Please welcome R.P Lumber to team "Race to Heal"
R.P. Lumber was founded in Staunton, Illinois in 1977. Since then, the company has grown to over 40 locations throughout Illinois and Missouri and has become a leader in the lumberyard/home center industry.
R.P. Lumber prides itself on providing superior customer service combined with competitively priced, high quality merchandise. Please visit their website and 40 some locations. Tell them Super Boo and Hannah sent ya from Race to Heal!!
A special thank you to Sean Rossman who presented our proposal to R.P. Lumber. We truly appreciate your efforts!
A campaign to train and prepare two young women for a 340 mile paddle, takes time and financial support.
To Mr. Bob Plummer, Owner of R.P. Lumber thank you for embracing Boo and Hannah's commitment around finding a cure for breast cancer. We are extremely grateful for your contribution and your commitment to our cause.
Powered by R.P. Lumber -Let the training begin!! - The Capt'n
I think Boo and Hannah owe Mr. Plummer a Missouri Boat Ride!!