MANKATO — Elizabeth Yetzer of Lakeville ran her first half-marathon Sunday.
It turns out, she’s pretty good at it.
Yetzer, a math teacher in St. Louis Park, bested the field at Mankato’s annual event, turning in a time of 1:18:24.
She finished just ahead of local runner Lindsay Henkels who placed second in 1:22.18.
“I’ve never run a half-marathon before,” Yetzer said. “I usually do some cross country-type runs in the fall, and then I’ll do some track events in the spring like a 1,500 or a 5k.”
A 2006 graduate of Lakeville High School and a 2011 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she ran competitively, Yetzer said the cooler temperatures Sunday proved to be a benefit.
“My dream would be 50 degrees and sunny, but today the lower temperature was nice,” she said. “It was just another distraction to keep your mind off the running. After I warmed up, I felt pretty good.”
Henkels, 33, was hoping to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials on Sunday but knew that the 1:15 time she had to hit was probably not going to happen. Instead, she used the race as a tuneup for the full marathon she plans to run in California in December.
“With the little bit of rain we had and the cold weather, I knew I probably wasn’t going to make it,” Henkels said. “And then when I saw (Elizabeth) at the starting line, too, I knew she was probably going to win it. She was a few years behind me at the U, but we all knew how good she was. I’ve run against her in other races, too.
“When you finish, you always wish you could have done a little bit better, but I’m satisfied. I’d say I’m 75 percent satisfied.”
Henkels, whose maiden name is Feder, graduated from Mankato West in 1998.
She then competed at the University of Minnesota before graduating in 2002.
“My pace today was probably good enough to qualify for the Trials, but you have to hold that pace over a full marathon,” she said. “I’ll keep training and maybe I can reach it in Sacramento.”
Joyce Bourassa of Lakeville was third in 1:26,37, Amy Dettman of St. Bonifacious was fourth (1:33.23), and Rachel More of St. Peter was fifth (1:33.44).
The next local finisher was Alyssa Westrup of North Mankato. She placed 12th among the women in 1:38.14. Gretchen Sadaka was the next Mankatoan, placing 26th in 1:41.26.