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2,000 miles paddling down Mississippi River is over for Kevin Brady, adventurer cousin of Jamie McDonald

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 09, 2014

  • Kevin Brady in his canoe

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Just days after Jamie McDonald completed his 5,000-mile run across Canada, his cousin Kevin Brady has completed his mega challenge to paddle the 2,000 miles of the Mississippi River.

He has now completed his 2,350 mile paddle despite battling temperatures of -10C and ice in the river.

Upon finishing the mammoth challenge, he said: "It still hasn't really sunk in yet that it's over."

Fundraising adventurer Kevin yesterday completed the life threatening solo canoeing journey that began at the source of the Mississippi River and ended at the Gulf of Mexico, more than 140 days later. He often paddled for up to 14 hours a day in his 17ft two-man open canoe, which he named ‘Orca’.

He was fundraising for Gloucester-based children’s charity the Pied Piper Appeal and after reaching his goal of £1,000 after just one month, Kevin extended the target to £3,000, which he hopes to reach shortly. The charity will also benefit from more than £20,000 from his cousin Jamie's efforts.

Paddling through injuries that threatened to end his journey prematurely and despite having only ever canoed on the River Wye for one weekend to prepare, the journey took Kevin from the Canada/USA border in Northern Minnesota through 10 states to the southern tip of Louisiana.

Kevin camped on the riverbed half the time and was taken in by strangers the other half, meeting thousands of people along the way. He endured one of the coldest winters on record, camping on snow and at one stage waking up to a nearby family of bears.

He said: “I’m just so happy to have finished, because at so many points it looked unlikely. At times, the weather was so gruelling and the wind so testing that the paddling was actually the easy bit – the wind really was the killer and one slip and I could have been just minutes from dying, the water is that cold.

“I’m so proud to have raised a good deal of money for our local children’s charity and accomplished something very few people have and that’s what I hope to show people – that life’s too short to sit around waiting for adventure to find you. The Mississippi is unlike any river in Europe and just like the rest of the US, it’s so varied along the way.

“I wanted to test myself physically and mentally and this adventure really did that. It was a often a lonely existence for four months and I kept going to push my limits, but primarily, because I knew it could make a difference to children’s lives. Dragging myself through sheets of ice is nothing compared to what some children have to go through.”

Friends and supports have wished him well.

Mary Koran said: "I hope you had a fanfare waiting for you. Only for the Grace of God and determination, Kev you did it! I'm sure a lot of us can breathe a sigh of relief that you made it safe."

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  • QuiltingQueen  |  February 09 2014, 10:51AM

    Sincere congratulations. What an amazing person, I hope you raise your £3k and more, you deserve it.