Canoe team seeking Mississippi River record faces bridge closure obstacles

A group of paddlers seeking the Guinness World Record for fastest canoe trip down the Mississippi River said they are ahead of schedule, despite delays from a bridge shutdown.

A spokesman for the Mississippi Speed Record team said the paddlers, who departed from Minnesota on May 4, said the team was about 6 1/2 hours ahead of schedule Monday evening, with about 500 miles left of a 2,300-mile journey.

The spokesman, Todd Foster, said the team has recently faced new challenges resulting from last week’s shutdown of the Interstate 40 bridge in Tennessee.

“Over the last 24 hours, they’ve been paddling through that neck of the woods they’ve had to deal with more barges than they usually would or at least closer together,” Foster told WMC-TV.

“And canoeing next to a barge is not for the faint of heart. They kick off some really big waves and it can be quite dangerous.”

The team is currently expecting to complete their journey Friday night, Foster said. Members have to beat a time of 18 days, 4 hours, 51 minutes to take the Guinness World Record.