The Meanest Link Experience
How do you paddleboard 420 km in one go? One stroke at a time. That’s what Doug Russell, Alex Duncan, and Mike Crouzat discovered last month when they became the first Stand-Up Paddle team to complete the ‘Meanest Link’ in Algonquin Park, a route designed by Algonquin Outfitters as a tribute to one of their founders, Bill Swift Sr.
The full description of the link can be found here
Doug Russell took some time during his recuperation to reflect on his experience.
"The SUP Meanest Link expedition was one of the most mentally and physically challenging things I have done in my life. I am incredibly proud of our team's accomplishment and know that it took a total team effort.
Prior to starting the Meanest Link, Alex and I completed an 85 km rehearsal to test equipment and scout portions of the route... we also used visualization to help us anticipate how we would feel at certain stages. Visualization helped significantly and this was a technique I had used in the past when mission planning.
On Day One, we were forced to stop short by 15 km from our campsite. The next day saw us cover 75 kms in 20 hours to get back on our original schedule. I would have been skeptical that this was even possible, but the team's grit, perseverance and motivation really emerged and helped us accomplish this.
I was awestruck by the amount of support our team received from family, friends and the local paddling community as we prepared for and executed this expedition. We received so much support, so many donations and encouragement, even from random passers-by while we were on the link.
This support really made us realize that we were participating in something much larger than ourselves and helped us deal with the small day to day pain points like bugs and sore hands/feet a lot more easily.
We were the second fastest group to complete the Meanest link ever, and raised $4600 for Soldier On. The challenges we endured on the link are nothing in comparison to those experienced by our military's ill and injured and I am proud and humbled to be associated with Soldier On and its efforts to help soldiers in need."