OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After two years of changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers say they were excited for a bit of normalcy to come back to the 22nd Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

However, Mother Nature had to have one final say before the race could take off as planned.

As severe storms moved through Oklahoma on Saturday evening, race officials decided to delay the marathon’s start time by one hour.

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, runners from 47 states and 11 countries took off from the starting line.

The runners range in age from 17-year-olds to one 79-year-old marathoner. Organizers say an 85-year-old is also participating in the half-marathon.

In the women’s race, McKale Montgomery got an early lead in the race within the first six miles of the race. At the time, she was on pace for a 6:03 mile.

Montgomery continued her strong pace as she approached the halfway point in the race and appears to have several fans cheering her on. Throughout the start of the race, OSU fans were cheering on Montgomery.

Montgomery is a nutrition professor at Oklahoma State University where she teaches a class about metabolism. Race expert Mark Bravo says her career plays a big role in her running style and success.

At the 10 1/2-mile mark, Montgomery’s pace slowed slightly to 6:18 a mile. The wind has picked up so the runners are fighting the wind and the cold in addition to fatigue.

Bravo says that Montgomery grew up in Fairfax, Oklahoma and started running when she was 15-years-old. She didn’t have a car, so she was forced to run four miles each day to basketball practice.

At the 15-mile mark, McKale Montgomery increased her speed and widened her lead over the other runners. She was on a 6:08 mile pace.

Montgomery’s goal was to win the marathon, but she also really wanted to finish in the 2:37:00 minute timeframe. The current Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon record for female marathoners is around 2:40:00.

With less than four miles left in the race, Montgomery continued strong and was more than a mile in front of her closest competitor.

Her pace was steady at 6:08 a mile.

McKale Montgomery never lost the top spot, and crossed the finish line at 10:09 a.m. with a total preliminary time of 2:41:06.

Her average pace for the whole race was listed at 6:09 a mile.

With Montgomery’s finish, she set a new course record for the women’s race.

Montgomery says she was happy that the weather cleared up this morning.

She says she put in 100-mile weeks in order to train to set a course record in her home state.

KFOR’s Tara Blume broke the news to her that two Cowboys won the race.

Her training partner and graduate student, Bryant Keirns, won the men’s marathon. She said their next goal is to head to the Olympic Trials.