Paddling hundreds of miles over nine days doesn’t intimidate Dr. Bob Brown, whose credentials include marathon canoe and kayak races.
The dean of the College of Natural Resources will take to the water in April for a 225-mile Hope Floats trip to benefit the American Cancer Society. Hope Floats is part of the Relay for Life campaign, more commonly associated with cancer walks and runs.
Brown is one of nine kayakers who will paddle the Neuse River from Raleigh to Beaufort with a goal of raising at least $5,000. Others are welcome to join the team for one-day portions of the route.
A reserve team follows along by car, helping set up camps each night and prepare meals. Each kayaker pays $150 to cover expenses in addition to the fundraising.
Leaving the Suit and Tie Behind
When he came to NC State to take the dean’s post in 2006, Brown had his photo taken with a kayak, though he wore a suit and tie. He sported a different uniform while getting his start in canoeing as a Scoutmaster and Boy Scout Venturing Crew Leader, twice taking groups to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota.
He progressed to marathon canoe and kayak racing, participating in both a solo kayak and a tandem canoe in several 40–60 mile races, the Colorado River 100-mile race in Texas (three times) and the grueling 260-mile Texas Water Safari (five times). The latter has to be completed in 100 hours, which involves paddling at night and portaging around or over fallen trees and broken dams at night, on little sleep.
“I had to drop out of that race twice, once for utter exhaustion and once for dehydration,” Brown said.
This time, he’s expecting to finish strong.
“No one in my family has had cancer, fortunately, and by raising funds for cancer research I hope to keep it that way,” he said.
To learn more about the trip and how you can help, visit hopefloatsnc.org.