ST. CLOUD -- Some serious paddlers hit the Mississippi on Saturday. The 5th annual Mighty Miss Canoe Race kicked off at the Beaver Island Trailhead in St. Cloud.

Only five boats took on the 55-mile marathon, but Race Director Roland Ring-Jarvi says there were two shorter routes for people to race as well.

There's an intermediate race, 25 miles, starting in Monticello, again going to Champlin, and then the shorter race or tour - it's a race or tour depending on how you want to do it - that's 12 miles from Elk River to Champlin.

All three routes run down the river and finish at Mississippi Point Park. Ring-Jarvi says he started the event after using this stretch of the river to train for longer races.

I live on the Mississippi and I paddle a lot on the river. Just paddling this part of the river was so nice. There's no dams, you don't have to portage, and it's kind of fun to go into the little towns.

Each year between 40 and 60 people participate in the race, and Ring-Jarvi says he hopes to see that number grow in the future.

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