Spokane’s Greg Gallagher wins 16th annual Beaver Lake Triathlon

August 18, 2009

By Christopher Huber

Johnna Koenig, of Sammamish, muscles her way toward the transition from the cycling leg to the running portion of the triathlon, on the way to her victory in the women’s division. By Greg Farrar

Johnna Koenig, of Sammamish, muscles her way toward the transition from the cycling leg to the running portion of the triathlon, on the way to her victory in the women’s division. By Greg Farrar

Sammamish resident Johnna Koenig finishes first in women’s race

As he prepared for a dip in Beaver Lake Aug. 15, incoming Skyline High School senior Jamie Eide chuckled as he thought about taking a nice long nap once he got home from participating in his first triathlon.

Eide is an avid cyclist — he’s pedaled the Seattle-to-Portland three times — but he had stayed up until 6 a.m. the morning of the Beaver Lake Triathlon. He was also a bit nervous about the swimming portion.“To train for this, I mostly just trained for the swimming, because that’s probably where I’m not going to do too good,” he said before the race.

Eide, who finished in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 35 seconds, was one of 417 racers from the Pacific Northwest who participated in the 16th annual Beaver Lake Triathlon. Thirty-four Issaquah residents and 92 from Sammamish spent the morning swimming, biking and running their way to the finish line at Beaver Lake Park.

A crowd of spectators gathered as race officials announced the approaching first finishers. Greg Gallagher, 40, of Spokane, finished first with a time of 1:11:24. Sammamish resident Johnna Koenig won the women’s division Aug. 15 with a time of 1:18:21.

Gallagher did not have the fastest time in any of the legs of the race, but with rapid transition times and steady pacing, he managed to pull ahead in the final stretch of the 4.3-mile run around Beaver Lake.

“Back about mile three, I thought I heard footsteps, and I just knew — the running is my strength — and I knew if I could hold on I would be alright,” Gallagher said.

He said the toughest part of the course was the 13.8-mile bike ride, which took athletes down Duthie Hill Road and Highway 202 toward Fall City and back up to the Sammamish Plateau.

“It felt great — one of my first wins. The bike ride was pretty tough,” Gallagher said after catching his breath near the snack tent. “I led the bike up until about mile seven, until you hit the hill, and that’s where it got real brutal.

“And I had about five guys in front of me until about mile 10, and then I was able to get into about third place,” he added. “I was second in the run until about a quarter-mile into it and I was able to take the lead and hold on.”

Koenig beat the rest of the female contenders by approximately four minutes, according to official times posted on the event’s Web site. She came in 19th overall.

“I just wanted to have a good race,” she said. “I mean, it would be nice to get first, but I wasn’t concerned about it too much.”

She and her husband are training for the Ironman Canada Aug. 30 and used the Beaver Lake Triathlon (considered a sprint triathlon) as some extra training.

“This is a local race, so you have to come out and do it,” Koenig said. “It’s a fun, fun race and it’s well run. I try to encourage all my friends to do it.”

Steve Keever, 44, was the highest-finishing Issaquah resident, coming in at 36th overall (1:22:42).

Steven Bailey, 39, of Sammamish, finished 10th overall with a time of 1:15:19. The experienced triathlete said he was mostly happy with the outcome.

“Sometimes, when you get passed in the run, there’s a little motivation, so I was just kinda sorta trying to hang on during the run. But I came off the bike first, so that was good,” Bailey said. “I’ve done probably 50 triathlons and 10 Ironmans, so I mean you sorta just get used to it. You kinda know what to expect. You just pace yourself and … you keep it just at that limit, so you’re not going too hard and you die.”

At 65, Tony Canlis was Sammamish’s oldest athlete to finish the triathlon. He won his division and came in 51st overall with a time of 1:35:28. Issaquah’s most senior competitor, John Dickson, 56, ran the race in 1:59:37.

On the Web
See video of this year’s Beaver Lake Triathlon at www.issaquahpress.com.

On the Web

See video of this year’s Beaver Lake Triathlon at www.issaquahpress.com.

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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