Minneapolis man captains fastest team to paddle length of Mississippi River

(KSTP) – Minnesota is home to a new world record holder after a canoe team took on the mighty Mississippi River.

Guinness World Records made it official this week: Mississippi Speed Record is the fastest team to row the length of the Mississippi River.

“It hit me like a bolt of lightning, like, I want to do that,” said Scott Miller, captain of Mississippi Speed Record, about his drive to beat the record.

“I never before had heard a world record where I thought, I think I could do that,” Miller added. “I love the river, I love paddling, I love being out on the river, so if nothing else, it was an excuse to have a great big adventure doing something that I love.”

Miller says their GPS tracker logged 2,334.08 miles on their journey to world record status. Taking their first paddle on May 10 at the headwaters of Lake Itasca, it took them 16 days, 20 hours and 16 minutes to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.

Documenting their way on video, Miller says he and his team — including Judson Steinback, Paul Cox and Wally Werderich — weren’t alone. From people following on land to cruising alongside in the water on what Miller called “safety boats,” more than 30 people helped along the way.

One was Todd Foster, Miller’s best friend and lead adviser for the team.

“It was like a NASCAR pit crew. When [Miller] and the team would stop on shore, they wanted to make those stops as quick as possible,” Foster said.

Foster says from dry clothes and warm meals to ice cream treats, those helping along the way did their best to keep the team’s spirits high.

Miller says there were no major incidents and only a few slowdowns. He also says they couldn’t have done this well without some luck on their side. As for why they did it, Miller says for the adventure and to spread the love of their craft.

“Make sure you do it safely, make sure you’re wearing your life jacket, but get out there and enjoy the rivers that we have,” Miller said.