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Logan Sims of East Alton paddled 340 miles in the Missouri American Water Kayak Race to raise funds for Friends of Kids With Cancer.
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Approximately 370 kayaks started the 4-day, 340-mile charity race event on July 19.
EAST ALTON — The idea of paddling 340 miles in a kayak is impossible for most people to even imagine. Logan Sims of East Alton did it last month when he raised funds for families of children with cancer by participating in the 11th annual Missouri American Water Kayak River Race to benefit Friends of Kids With Cancer.
Sims lives in East Alton with his wife, Elaine, and their daughter, Stella. A union carpenter by trade, his first experience kayaking was when he lived in Georgia briefly after graduating from Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto.
An admitted adventurer, Sims stays active hiking, camping, mountain biking and playing softball. However, he is particularly enthusiastic about kayaking.
“I knew I loved it the first time I did it,” he says.
To emphasize the point, he highlights the fact he and Elaine used their wedding money to purchase their first kayak.
The race event started in Kansas City on July 19 and followed the Missouri River to end four days later in St. Charles, Mo. About 370 kayaks began the race; some 240 crossed the finish line.
Sims points out the race was not a leisurely undertaking.
“We traveled 100 miles the first day, putting in the water at 6 a.m. and traveling until about midnight,” he says. “You basically go until you feel like you have to stop and then you try to go about an hour longer than that.”
Hazards during the event included barge traffic, wakes from pleasure boats and especially the weather. It was particularly hot during the four-day event and there were times when violent storms swept across the course.
His support crew included his wife as well as his dad, Rick. He credits them with helping him succeed. He trained by spending as much time paddling as he could and emphasizes competing over that distance is as much mental as it is physical.
Sims raised more than $4,000 for Friends of Kids With Cancer. The charity assists families dealing with children suffering from cancer. They help families cope with the daily challenges they experience, trying to create an atmosphere that allows them to make the best of a bad situation.
Sims notes how his good friend had a niece with neuroblastoma cancer. He says he wanted to find a charity he knew would make a real difference in children’s lives.
“As soon as I talked to the people from Friends of Kids With Cancer, I knew they were the organization,” he says. “It’s a well-run charity. They’re in it for the kids.”
During the race, people can support participants by the mile, by the hour or simply by making a single donation. Information about the event and Friends of Kids With Cancer can be found at friendsofkids.com.
When asked what message he would want to give people, Sims demonstrates the spirit, energy and attitude that carried him through the grueling event.
“Get out there and live,” he says. “Enjoy the outdoors and take care of each other.”