This past weekend, British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite wearily pulled himself out of the Missouri River not far from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. That iconic landmark served as the finish line for an incredible journey that began back in early August, when Cornthwaite dove into the river near Chamberlain, South Dakota and proceeded to swim more than 1000 miles downstream flanked by a support team on stand-up paddle boards and in kayaks.
Over the past two months, Dave and his friends have spent an average of more than ten hours per day out on the water as they struggled to make progress down the river. Early on the weather was warm and conditions were generally good, but as the weeks went by the temperatures started to drop and the water grew colder. High winds and the occasional storm conspired to impede progress at times, but the biggest challenge was the daily grind. Near the end, Dave was routinely swimming 40 miles and consuming in excess of 6000 calories per day. That can take a real toll on the human body when it continues day after day.
This impressive swim is just the latest in Dave’s Expedition 1000 project which will see him completing 25 different journeys of 1000 miles or more without the use of motorized transportation. Cornthwaite has now completed seven such journeys, including a 3638-mile crossing of Australia on a skateboard, a 1400-mile tandem bike ride from Vancouver to Las Vegas and a stand-up paddleboard expedition along the length of the Mississippi River that covered more than 2400 miles.
While Dave certainly enjoys these journeys simply for the pure adventure, he also has much bigger goals in mind. He hopes to use Expedition 1000 to raise £1,000,000 (roughly $1.6 million) for charity. For example, the just completed 1000-mile swim was used to raise funds for the Coppafeel organization, a non-proft dedicated to promoting the early-detection of breast cancer.
Dave and his team wrote extensively about their adventure on the Swim 1000 blog, which served to document the places they visited and the people they met along the Missouri River. Now, even after the expedition is complete, it makes for a fun and interesting read, offering insights into the challenges and triumphs they experienced along the way.
What will the next leg of Expedition 1000 hold? At this point, only Dave knows for sure. But you can bet he’ll follow up this long swim with an equally impressive journey. For now though, I’m guessing he is looking forward to some rest and recuperation on dry land. After two months in the water, he’s probably extremely happy that he doesn’t have to get back in the river anytime soon.
By Kraig Becker