Christine Rockey rocks!by Russell Alston
Christine Rockey, a lecturer in Coastal Carolina University’s Honors College, wakes up at the ungodly hour of 4:15 a.m. every day. By 4:30, she is putting foot to pavement for her ritual — a daily run that covers CCU and the Quail Creek community.
“The hardest part is getting out of bed,” she says. “But I never want to get out of marathon shape. I always want to be ready to accept the challenge.”
Rockey was recently in Portland visiting family while entertaining thoughts of finding a marathon to compete in. She found her challenge in the Firecracker Quadzilla, held in Oregon over the Fourth of July weekend. The Quadzilla is four marathons in four days, totaling 104.8 miles, or the distance from Conway to Fayetteville, N.C.
Rockey completed all four, setting a record at one, and breaking the record in two others. She was the overall winner of the female group with an incredible 13 hours and 36 minutes.
“I set a goal of completing it in 16 hours,” she says. “It was a surprise to learn I reached my goal, so that’s marked off the bucket list.”
She enjoyed the support of her family along the way, including her mother and father, Priscilla and Jerry Stewart, sister Bridget, husband Don Rockey (an associate professor of recreation sports management at CCU) and their three children: 10-year-old Trey, 7-year-old Britton and 5-year-old Mallory.
“My son ran two laps with me during the Summerlake Loopy Marathon, and my husband did seven or eight laps with me,” she says. “Mom, dad and Trey even helped at a water station at the third marathon. And my sister was at the last race to lend her support.”
The final race, the Stars and Stripes Marathon, was the only time Rockey would question herself — mentally not physically.
“During the last race I was ready to be done,” she says. “There comes a point where you go, ‘What am I thinking?’”
She toughed it out, however, and set a new marathon record in the women’s division of 3 hours 33 minutes.
Winning the Quadzilla and shattering records aside, Rockey is careful to avoid labeling the event as a competition. “There is a definitely a camaraderie amongst runners,” she says. “Running in races can be fun and joyful. By the end, I made some new friends.”
Rockey takes her creed of always being in marathon shape seriously. Her diet is low fat and high calorie, with a “daily dose of Swedish Fish.” When training, she goes on runs of 15, 15 and 20 miles — back-to-back-to-back. She also does Insanity training, described as a method of exercising where you work out strenuously for 3–4 minutes, cool down for 30-seconds and start the process over again.
Rockey says there is “a solitude in training that I love and the feeling I get afterwards.” She says the benefits, besides being fit and healthy, are “more energy and more patience with my family.” Rockey also appreciates the support of her husband.
“He is a huge help with the kids and the whole morning routine,” she says.
Now that the Quadzilla is behind her, Rockey can get back to another bucket list item. “My goal is to complete a marathon in all 50 states,” she says.
Twenty-one states have been checked off her demanding list, including California, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Clearly, Rockey runs for the love of sport. She says she has friends who know exactly how many miles they have run during their entire life. “Some of them have spreadsheets for their spreadsheets.” She, however, doesn’t need such statistics.
“I would like to know, but I don’t want to know. I just love to run.”