Taking the Plunge for Fitness, Fire Chief jumps into Lake Washington

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Kirkland Fire Chief Nalder joins Ford/Hyundai of Kirkland's Jim Walen in jumping into Lake Washington to celebrate their Biggest Loser competition

Here's something one doesn't see everyday: Kirkland Fire Chief Kevin Nalder jumping into Lake Washington. Before dawn. On February 1st.

An unusual sight to be sure. Unless one sees his friend Jim Walen of Ford/Hyundai of Kirkland is right on his heels with a classic belly flop. Why, one might ask? They had a small wager to see who could lose the most weight.

Since November 1, Nalder and Walen have been competing to see who could be the biggest loser in three months. Walen was joined by 24 employees at his company in a friendly competition modeled after television's The Biggest Loser. Nalder, who enjoys athletics and ran a half marathon a few years ago, joined Walen in a bet to see who could lose the most weight. The wager: the loser takes a jump into Lake Washington.

The friendly competition between the two friends did have a few twists and turns, however. Walen would periodically check in and ask Chief Nalder how much he had lost so far. "He was sandbagging me a bit," said Walen of Nalder, who kept saying he only had only lost a few pounds.

For his part, Walen played the game as well.

"Kevin and I, you know, we lost touch a bit in the last couple of weeks. I kind of did on purpose. I'd come down here and work out with a personal trainer."

"I asked Kevin how he was doing and he'd say, 'oh I might have lost eight pounds or so," said Walen. This made Walen work all the harder in the competition.

For the record, on February 1st, Jim Walen lost 24 pounds and Chief Kevin Nalder lost 18.5 pounds. Congratulations to both of you.

As a part of Jim Walen's workout, he joined Jonathan Fisher of Get Fit Outside for early morning workouts under the pavilion at Marina Park. Fisher has been fitness training in Kirkland for ten years.

Before the big splash, Nalder said of Walen, "I proud of him. I think it's great how he motivated and inspired his staff. He won. He walked the talk… I'm going in."

Shortly thereafter, the two friends walked the plank, so to speak, to the end of the dock at Marina park and jumped into the lake, Nalder first, followed by Walen. Good sports all around.

In this competition, there were only winners.