Radcliffe is the world record-holder in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds. That mark is a whopping three minutes, 22 seconds, faster than the next female in history - Kenya's Catherine Ndereba.
The Arizona State University's illustrious career continued with another historic run this morning. This one has to be considered one the most impressive feats in SCV history, as Ortega became the first female in history to break the coveted 40-minute barrier, touching the gate in a mind-boggling 39:49. She finished nine seconds ahead of Jason Hillquist, a 1:54 800-meter standout and the 2014 Foothill League 800-meter runner-up.
Ortega showed strength and maturity beyond her years. Her record comes 18 years after the first male in SCV history broke 40 minutes, a barrier which serves as a marker for most elite males in the Santa Clarita Valley.
So just how fast is 39:49 up the Beast?
That time is now three minutes, 37 seconds, faster than the next fastest woman - SCV legend Shannon Murakami.
It's a performance only 37 men have run faster than.
And it's the fourth time Ortega has broken her own record.
Following her historic record run, a lot of SCV's finest male runners, including Hillquist and Saugus record-holder Ryan Tate, praised Ortega on her latest accomplishment. For the first time ever, a woman can finally say she's broken the 40-minute barrier up the 4.9-mile incline known as the Beast.
Tate, now a senior for the Centurions, had reason to celebrate, too, as he ran the fastest mark by a high schooler since 2006. That fall, former Canyon High School runner Stephen Kent set the SCV prep record, then went on to claim the Foothill League cross country championship a few months later.
Tate, last year's Foothill League cross country and 3,200-meter runner-up to the great Brian Zabilski, traversed the Beast in an impressive 35:45, which just missed Kent's SCV high school record by seven seconds.
It lowered his own school record by another 21 seconds and now ranks him No. 4 in Beast history, only trailing Santa Clarita Valley 5,000-meter record-holder Seth Totten, 2010 NAIA National Marathon champion Jeff Jackson, and Kent.
[EDIT: Shannon Murakami has since run 40:06, No. 2 in SCV history and 17 seconds off Ortega's record. Saugus high school junior Mariah Castillo also clocked 45:12 last year, the new SCV high school sophomore record up the Beast, while Kobe Serrano became just the second freshman in history to break 40 minutes, setting a new record in 39:07.]