On what couldn’t have been a more perfect morning for a race in central Texas, the 20th Annual 3M Half Marathon lived up to it’s billing. A favorite because of the net downhill, point-to-point course, runners were bolstered by sub-40 temps at the start line and a slight north wind to push them from behind.
Former UT track standout Erik Stanley left little doubt as to who was in control from the beginning. By the time the lead pack made it to Burnet Road, the 28-year-old had already made his separation and was cruising at 5 minute miles.
“After the first mile or two we started to split up,” recounted the always humble Stanley. “I just kept pushing and ran my race.”
Coming off a victory in the Bandera 25K trail race just a week ago, the Austin Distance Challenge leader ran solo for the final 10 miles to take the tape in 1:06:38. He’ll be a serious contender at the Austin Marathon on February 16th – just his second time to run 26.2 miles on the road. He hasn’t lost a race dating back to the Decker Challenge in early December.
“I was pleased and really enjoyed the course,” said Stanley. “It was cool to be a part of something like this and a race that does so much for the community.”
Rounding out the top three was a pair of 24-year-olds from Austin. Moses Luevano – running under Rory Tunningley’s bib – held second for the first six miles but eventually succumbed to Matthew Lowe who finished in 1:07:29. Luevano – a former collegiate runner now working at a local retail store – came in third at 1:08:21.
On the women’s side, Kelly Williamson etched her name in to 3M lore by taking her third straight title. The veteran’s early pace was no match for the women’s field and by the time she finished Anita Quirino – second overall – still had nearly a half mile to go.
Even more impressive with the victory is that she was off of running for most of October and November. “I eased back in to things in December and began a real training structure earlier this month,” said Williamson.
Williamson clocked her slowest winning time in the three-year streak with a 1:16:34, 15 seconds off pace from the 2013 victory. The PR remains 1:14:42, set in 2012.
“It’s very cool to be able to win three times in a row here. I used to be stuck at 1:18’s a few years back but with time and patience I was able to drop that down a bit,” she said. “I had some setbacks in 2013 and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that those can rattle your confidence. I’m definitely happy to have hung in for a 1:16.”
Coming in second in the women’s overall was San Antonio resident Anita Quirino. The 30-year-old took 5th overall at the San Antonio Half two months ago but her time of 1:18:49 this morning smashed her previous personal best. Quirino was able to hold off the ageless Chris Kimbrough, finishing less than .3 seconds ahead.
In the Men’s Masters, Todd Heintz of San Antonio clocked a stellar 1:15:57. Second was Kevin Irwin in 1:16:11 and third was 49-year-old Daniel Lazarine with a 1:17:11.
Old stud division (50+) was taken by Tomm Wisloff (1:20:55), followed by Tim Terwey (1:22:29) and Bob Jackson (1:22:40) – all the way from Hobbs, New Mexico.
Of the super-old studs (60+), part-time Austin resident Chris Wolfe left little to chance with an impressive 1:30:41. Second place was eight minutes back with Wally Manaugh (1:38:16) in second and Austin Distance Challenge Director Vance Taylor (1:38:49) in third.
No surprise in the Women’s Master’s category with Chris Kimbrough (1:18:50) at the top. The usual suspects followed as Erin Geisler (1:26:15) captured second and Jennifer Fisher (1:24:53) placed third.
A duo of Gilbert’s Gazelles women led the 50+ group as Anne Hughes (1:31:35) bested them all. Kim Heide (1:33:11) was second and Audrey Herold (1:36:10) third.
Taking first in the women’s 60+ was Jan Lebourgeois (1:51:40), followed by Marianne Van Houtte (1:53:20) and Weisia Zielinska (1:54:34).