The warm waters of Lake Meridian and the out-and-back bike and running courses never felt more forgiving to Nick Johnson and Ginny Meadway than they did last Saturday morning.
In comfortable weather, Johnson and Meadway were smooth and methodical in capturing the Olympic-distance challenge of the eighth annual Lake Meridian Triathlon.
Johnson had passed this way before.
The 31-year-old Boeing engineer from Puyallup won the long-distance August race for the fourth time, his first since pulling a three-peat at the 2014 Kent summer race. Johnson covered the 1.5-kilometer (.93 mile) swim, 40K (24,8 miles) bike and 10K run (6.2 miles) in a personal-best 2 hours, 11.7 seconds. Owen Kendall (2:02:53.1) was second and Stuart Ayling (2:05:04.5), last year’s runner-up, finished third.
Johnson won the sprint title last August at the shorter distances – half-mile swim, 16.4-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. He came prepared for the longer test last Saturday.
“Conditions were great … they were cool and fast,” said Johnson, who trains with and competes for Raise The Bar, which presents the popular triathlon in and around Lake Meridian Park. “There was one big hill on it that makes it tough at the end. But it felt pretty good, so I was happy with it.”
Johnson, like many of his teammates and competitors, used the local race as a tune-up for the Aug. 27 Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
Meadway also is peaking for her first shot at the long-course in north Idaho. Her confidence is high after taking her first Olympic title at Lake Meridian after coming up short the year before. Meadway, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom from Burien, took the lead midway during the concluding run segment to finish in 2:23:11.1, swifter than her 2:25:41.0 clocking last August.
Kari Vreugdenhil (2:23:52.8) was second and Carly Vynne Baker (2:26:16.9) wound up third.
“You always want to win. It was awesome, so much better than last year,” an elated Meadway said of her performance. “This is perfect. I will do this (race) every year here.”
Other category winners at the short distances included: Josh Adams, men’s sprint; Elizabeth Abel, women’s sprint; and Paul Palumbo, super sprint.
For full results, see lakemeridiantri.com.