Ready to Run store manager Jen Hall, 29 scored a second-place finish today at the 3M Half Marathon in her first attempt at the distance, clocking a 1:17:51 behind Jessica Harper, 25—a former UT track and cross-country ace who hit the tape in 1:15:45. San Antonio’s Anita Perez settled for third in 1:19:35.

Ready to Run store manager Jen Hall (left) scored a second place finish at the 2018 3M Half Marathon in her debut at the distance Jessica Harper (right) won the race.

Harper dueled with San Antonio’s Anita Perez for the first few miles before pulling away, averaging 5:51 a mile and hitting the 5K mark in 18:10. But by 10K (36:13), Harper was firmly in the lead. At that point, Hall, the 2017 Statesman Capitol 10,000 champ had passed Perez to pull into second, running through the 10K mark about 150 meters behind Harper.

But Harper, who has turned into a serious marathoner since her debut at Dallas White Rock in 2014 (2:50:53), was able to better handle the fatigue as the miles wore on.

“The pace didn’t feel that fast,” said Hall. “But halfway through, I was thinking, ‘this is a long race.’ I need to get used to racing for longer distances like this. The last three miles were hard.”

Harper broke the tape in 1:15:45. Hall pulled up in 1:17:51, while Perez settled for third in 1:19:35.

Harper, who has a 2:40:35 marathon best set at the Rotterdam Marathon in South Holland last April, d is planning on running the Tokyo Marathon next month.

The men’s race came down to a two-man race between Austin’s Bryan Morton, 35 and Joseph Whelan, 27. Morton, who came in second at 3M in 2015, took the early lead as he passed through mile one in 5:08 and mile two in 10:14, with Whelan trailing about 10 seconds behind.

But Whelan, a former 8:53 steeplechaser for Syracuse University, was just getting warmed up, caught Morton at the 5K mark (16:10).

The pair worked together, taking turns in the lead through mile seven, but at the eight-mile mark, Whelan took the lead for good, opening up 100 meters of daylight as he continued to widen the gap. Whelan hit mile 10 in 52:40, about 200 meters ahead of Morton, and never looked back.

Whelan cruised the final 5K through the University of Texas Campus and onto San Jacinto Blvd. unchallenged, breaking the tape on 14th Street in 1:09:06. Morton held on for second in1:10:13, while Georgetown’s Michael Kurvach grabbed third in 1:12:24. Austin’s Matt McCurdy was fourth in 1:14:19, taking the top masters (40 and over) spot. See the full results here.

Upcoming Races: Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 a.m., Tutus & Tennies 5K in downtown Buda. Saturday, February 3, Cupid’s Chase 5K at 8:00 a.m. in downtown Georgetown.