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Trio out to set record for paddling Mississippi

Kirk "KJ" Millhone, center, and teammates Kevin Eckelkamp, left, and Nate Lastinger are attempting to break the world record by canoeing the 2,320-mile length of the Mississippi River in less than 18 days. Kirk Millhone / via St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL -- Three men are on a mission to paddle the 2,320-mile Mississippi river from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico in less than 18 days in an attempt to break the current world record.

Kirk “KJ” Millhone 59, of Minnetonka, and teammates Kevin Eckelkamp of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Nate Lastinger, Eckelkamp’s friend and supplier to his coffee shop, had made it to St. Paul Tuesday morning in their carbon fiber canoe.

Millhone, 59, of Minnetonka is no stranger to world records. In 1980, he and Steve Eckelkamp set the world speed record for canoeing the length of the Mississippi River in 35 days, 11 hours and 27 minutes. The pair attempted two others expeditions in their youth, one down the Amazon River that was cut short by a flash flood, and another kayaking up the western coast of Canada to Alaska.

Since then, their Mississippi River record has been broken several times and now stands at 18 days, four hours and 51 minutes by Bob Bradford and Clark Eid. Millhone hopes to break that record and snag a second record as well: the longest time between the two records, 38 years.

They’ll be posting their progress at facebook.com/recordexpedition/.

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