Christine Rockey has beaten her own Myrtle Beach Marathon winning time, but another runner bested her the year she did.
The pace team coordinator has run in the marathon since 2004, skipping only a year it was cancelled and the year right after her son was born.
The Saturday, March 7 event is the 23rd Myrtle Beach Marathon, and race director Harrison Schenck says its longevity is because of the City of Myrtle Beach.
“This event wouldn’t exist without the tourism department, the police department, the recreation department,” Schenck, with Capstone Races, said. “We do races all over the country, and the Myrtle Beach municipal offices involved in this race are more supportive than any other race. To have that local partner behind the race and do all the traffic control, all the barricades…without that support, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.”
Event activities include the marathon, the half-marathon, the 5K, the Family Fun Run and the Health and Wellness Expo.
For more information, visit https://capstoneraces.com/myrtle-beach-marathon/.
Myrtle Beach Marathon
The 26.2-mile marathon starts just south of the Grissom Parkway and 21st Ave. N. intersection at 7 a.m.
Crank chairs, which are “really fast wheel chairs,” start at 6:55 a.m. at the same place.
“These are wheel chairs where you use your arms on the pedals to race the course, and they’re actually way faster than anyone can run,” Schenck said, adding that they’re used for people who might have an injury.
“These are not,” he said, “for wheel chair athletes. These are souped-up wheelchairs and the mechanics are more like bicycles.”
The Myrtle Beach Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
That means, Schenck explained, if a runner finishes within a certain time, they qualify to enter the Boston Marathon lottery.
“It’s also one of the flattest courses in the country, and flat equals faster time.”
Myrtle Beach Half-marathon
The half-marathon begins at the same time and the same location as the marathon.
Myrtle Beach 5K
The 5K starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 7 along the boardwalk at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, just south of Plyler Park.
The finish line is the parking lot of TicketReturn.com at Pelican’s Ballpark.
Myrtle Beach Family Fun Run
The Myrtle Beach Family Fun Run starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 7 inside the TicketReturn.com field at Pelicans Ballpark, and finishes at the same place.
The 1-mile run is open to all ages.
Health and Wellness Expo
This year’s Health & Wellness Expo, which has been at the Myrtle Beach Sports Complex in previous years, is at Dave & Buster’s this year, 1322 Celebrity Circle in Myrtle Beach.
Schenck said the new location of the expo is “an exciting difference in this year’s marathon.
“Ninety-two percent of our runners are visitors, so we’ll be able to give them an expo where they can shop for their supplies and combine that with playing games at Dave & Busters.”
Schenck said the Myrtle Beach Marathon has become a destination event for people.
“What that means,” he said, “Is that it’s become a really famous event in running circles.
“If you showed a cross-section of logos from all over the country to runners, chances are good they’d recognize Myrtle Beach logos over the others.
“That speaks to our longevity and how well-organized this is as a known event.”
Pace team coordinator Rockey, who was the fasted female in 2004 with a time of 3:04 ran the marathon in 2:58 five years later.
A regular on the course, the Conway resident said there are several reasons why the Myrtle Beach Marathon is a staple in the community.
“The course is very pretty. The atmosphere the week of the race around town is energizing. The post-race activities are fun,” she said.
“The water stops are always manned by groups so you get to see familiar faces, and if you’re not local, they’re very welcoming.”