Keller has certainly earned the billing. This year, in early July, Keller won the long boat division for the third time in a row, in one of the nation’s most heralded extreme races. The event was the pinnacle event of the Potomac Whitewater Festival…
For some reason, the waterfall-strewn section just suits Keller’s style. Hard-charging and on line throughout, the win marked the third time in a row that Keller has showed his style on the gauntlet outside our nation’s capital, winning the long-boat division handily. Helping him along this year was the added benefit of Kiwi Mike Dawson out of the running in the final.
“I had a good run, but the guys here know this piece of water awesomely,” says Dawson, who made amends by winning the short-boat category.
In the short-boat division, Dawson took the win in 65.1 seconds, ahead of second-place finisher Geoff Calhoun in 69.9 seconds and Scott Parsons a second back at 70.8 seconds. “I managed to have two baller runs in the short boat class,” says Dawson.
In 2012, Keller won both the long and short boat division, besting Nathan Sass by three seconds in the long boat race and Danny Stock by just two-tenths of a second in the short boat race. In 2011, he bested Calhoun by two-tenths of a second in the long division, and took second to event co-organizer Jason Beakes in the short boat class.
Last year, the Great Falls Race was cancelled due to the accidental training run death of competitor Shannon Christy during practice a few days before the race. Instead a memorial service was held in Shannon’s honor in an eddy below the falls.
This year, while the event went off without a hitch, at the post-celebration party at organizer Jason Beake’s house, the festival was marred by a party crasher cutting Beakes in the cheek (see story here).
But none of that puts a damper on the event’s success as one of the best in the country, nor Keller’s accomplishment with his third win on one of the toughest courses around.
Watch video of the race HERE