A man taking part in a cross-Missouri boat race has been found dead.
The man had competed in the first day of the Missouri American Water MR340 on Tuesday before his body was found near the Saline-Carroll County line.
The 61-year-old man was found at a checkpoint in Miami, MO, along the Missouri River. Twelve hours earlier he withdrew from the race, telling friends he wasn't feeling well.
"I feel really bad for his friends," said Saline County, MO, Sheriff Wally George.
George said deputies were called to a campground about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday after friends and fellow paddlers found a man deceased inside his camper.
Deputies were told the man pulled out of the race in Lexington, MO, about 6 p.m. the night before. The paddler's boat partner had decided not to continue after Tuesday's leg of the race. Race director and founder Scott Mansker said the man and his ground crew decided to continue to follow the race after withdrawing from the competition in Lexington.
His group stopped for the night in Miami and friends last checked on him about 4 a.m.
"They talked to him and he was in the pickup and he said he felt really bad and when they went back he was deceased," George said.
Authorities said the man has a history of medical problems and they do not suspect foul play.
The four-day, 340-mile race across Missouri from Kansas City to St. Charles is one of the largest nonstop races in the country.
"You hear about people passing away in races like this, but it's not very often," Louisiana racer David Dupree said.
Dupree was forced to pull out of the race Wednesday morning when he started feeling ill. He said news of what happened is not only sad, it's a reminder of how difficult these races can be.
"You gotta listen to your body and not push it and put yourself at risk," he said.
The man's name has not been released. Officials said he is from Michigan and authorities there are contacting his next of kin.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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