By Cherri Gregg, Rahel Solomon, Kristen Johanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 22nd Annual Philadelphia Marathon kicked off Sunday as thousands of runners pounded the pavement through a scenic 26.2 mile track throughout the city.READ MORE: SEPTA Union Unanimously Approves Strike If Deal Isn't Reached
The race began around 7:15 a.m. — more than 15 minutes late due to an accident on along the race route and long security lines.
“This is a major event for the city and so because it’s a major event, we want to make sure people feel safe and that they are safe,” said race director Desiree Peterkin-Bell.
Law enforcement was visible at several checkpoints, where runners and spectators endured searches and patdowns.
“Since the Boston bombing, we have upgraded some of our security measures,” explains Mayor Michael Nutter. “Some have been in effect since then, the clear bags, the secure area in the start and finish zone, but given the events in Paris just a week or so ago, we’ve taken some extra precautions, some things people won’t even necessarily see.”
But security delays and dropping temperatures did not stop the more than 25,000 runners who laced up for the event.
“The wind was against us for the first eight miles, but the last three, the wind was to our backs, so that was fine,” says Wendy from Blue Bell, who runs with her best friend every year. “The crowd was really great, that’s what keeps you going.”
Once the horn sounded, the runners came darting from the starting line in waves, beginning with the wheelchair racers, followed by the elites and then thousands and thousands thereafter.
Runners from across 53 countries and all 50 states took part in the marathon.READ MORE: Double Shooting In Eastwick Kills 25-Year-Old Man, Wounds Pregnant Woman: Police
Thirty-six-year-old Teklu Deneke of Ethiopia was the first male runner to cross the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes.
Thirty-one-year-old Gisela Oladle Granados from Mexico was the first female runner to complete the race. She finished with a time of 2 hours, 40 minutes.
For David, this was his first half marathon:
“It was really great, until like mile eight, and then once you get into Fairmount park and start getting uphill stretches, I am just like ‘man, this is going on and on and on.”
He ran with his buddy, Jessica, who was running the race for the second time:
“ Last year was my first Philly Marathon, it was really painful,” she says. “This year, I knocked a lot of time off, and felt really good.”
Michelle Shafiro trained for 18 weeks and convinced three friends to run alongside her.
“We’re all a little nervous, but excited,” Shafiro said before the race. “But we’ve got each other and a few folks along the route to keep us going.”
Among the more than 60,000 spectators was Joel Wolf. He came out to support his friend Dawn who was running a half marathon, knowing spectator energy is vital to the finish.
“They need it, moral support,” Wolf said, “especially the last mile or so.”
The 26.2 mile track began on the Ben Franklin Parkway and went through neighborhoods spanning from Center City to South Philadelphia up to Manayunk.MORE NEWS: 'I Want To Go To Class': Philadelphia Students, Parents On Edge As Possible SEPTA Strike Could Force Virtual Learning
The marathon caused numerous detours and road closures across the city, so motorists were warned to expect delays.