San Diego, California – July 6, 2011 – Two Guinness World Records were broken simultaneously on June 26th when Carter Johnson of San Francisco, and Robyn Benincasa of San Diego, paddled a combined 511 miles in 24 hours on Canada’s Yukon River. Johnson paddled 280 miles to break the previous men’s record set on the same river in 2010 by 11 miles, while Benincasa paddled 231 miles, bettering the women’s record set on the Missouri River in 2009 by 39 miles. The World Records played out on the section of the Yukon between Whitehorse and Dawson City.
“Good weather, two remarkable crews, 24 hours of light and keeping the rudder side down in the fast moving water of the Yukon were keys to our success,” said Robyn Benincasa, Captain of Team Merrell Adventure, “Now that Team Merrell holds four of the six Solo Guinness World Paddling Records for moving water and flat water – it looks like we’ll have a couple of new challenges on the open water in 2012!”
One profound highlight of this grueling accomplishment, which involves paddling for 24 straight hours while sitting locked in a set position in a hard kayak, is the fact that Benincasa, a two-time adventure race world champion, 10-time Ironman finisher and professional firefighter on an all-women crew in San Diego, is also the proud owner of two metal-on-metal Birmingham hips due to the debilitating effects of Osteoarthritis.
“I live a lot of my life, and try to inspire others, through a few vital words spoken by Chuck Yeager,” Benincasa said, “You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up, but you don’t give up.”
Through accomplishments such as this world record, and her founding of the Project Athena Foundation, Benincasa believes in the power of recovery through adventure, teamwork and camaraderie. “The brightest stars don’t create the greatest teams,” she said, “The greatest teammates create the greatest teams – and whether in world-class competition or in daily life when the cards maybe weren’t dealt right – teamwork and the smallest of accomplishments through adventure and sport offer a true gift in terms of recovery.”
Team Merrell’s quests for adventure will continue in 2011 with competitive events around the globe, and those interested in joining Robyn and some of her teammates along an adventure for a cause can join her Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Trek, Mt. San Jacinto Climb or other fundraising adventures for the Project Athena Foundation.
About Team Merrell Adventure
Team Merrell Adventure is comprised of ten inspiring and talented athlete ambassadors who compete in several high-profile team-based adventure events each year, in an effort to share the fun and importance of adventure while creating awareness and support for relevant causes. For more information, please visit Team Merrell.
About Project Athena Foundation
Project Athena, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded in 2007 by two-time adventure race world champion, 10-time Ironman finisher and professional firefighter, Robyn Benincasa. Robyn was diagnosed with stage 4 Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, in 2007, and completed a marathon 20 weeks after hip resurfacing surgery as a proud owner of two metal-on-metal bionic hips. Inspired by a support group of girlfriends who were also survivors, Benincasa started the Foundation to create a “god and goddess” network, to help other women who face medical setbacks embrace recovery and conquer physical fitness and adventure goals. Whether it is trekking across the Grand Canyon, climbing the Mount San Jacinto Cactus to Clouds Trail or realizing a lifelong athletic goal regardless of the setback, Project Athena helps make these adventurous dreams a reality. For more information, visit Project Athena.