Kristen Radcliff wins OKC Memorial Marathon
Growing up and running in the Panhandle equipped Kristen Radcliff with the mental toughness that races like the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon require.
"It's the best place to run," said Radcliff, the top female finisher in Sunday's marathon. "It's not hilly, but it's hot and windy. In western Oklahoma, the wind never stops blowing. If you can run there, you can run about anywhere."
On Sunday, Radcliff bested the field with a winning time of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 52 seconds. It was her first Memorial Marathon victory after finishing second last year in her first attempt.
"It feels great to come away with a win," said the 29-year-old Oklahoma City resident. "It is always hot and windy down Classen. I was hurting that last little bit down Classen. It was really tough, but the crowd was great. When you come down Broadway at the end, it's an incredible feeling."
Radcliff grew up in Forgan, a small town in Beaver County with less than 600 people. Her father is a farmer/rancher and her mother is a first-grader teacher.
"Out where I live there is not any paved roads so I chased my sister for miles," Radcliff said. "When she graduated, I had a dog that I ran with."
Radcliff's older sister and younger twin brothers were all basketball stars at Forgan and MVPs of state championship teams. Radcliff didn't have a jump shot like her brothers and sister, but she could outrun them, and everyone else, too.
At Forgan High School, Radcliff won 11 track and cross country state championships in her career. She is still the record-holder in the 3200-meter run in the state's smallest class. In 2006, when Radcliff broke the Class A 1600-meter record, she replaced her sister, Kalie, atop the record list.
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Radcliff earned a scholarship to Oral Roberts University where she became the women's track MVP of The Summit League, the conference in which ORU was a member at the time.
After college, Radcliff moved to Dallas and took a break from running. She moved to Oklahoma City in 2015 and walked into OK Runner one day to buy shoes where she met Ashley Miller, who ran for the University of Nebraska. The two started running together. Now Radcliff is back running competitively and winning.
"It's because of my training partners that I am even here today. They are incredible," Radcliff said. "They motivate me. I work full-time, so it's hard to get the runs in, but when you have accountability, people in your life who support you and support your goals, that's a good thing.”