Whether you read about it coming from one of former Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne’s legendary speeches or heard about it being sung by pop music icon Billy Ocean, the saying’s meaning is exactly the same:
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’’
In the case of local standout runner Christine Lloyd, the recent going has indeed been tough.
But being the competitor she is, her personal toughness – which includes her training and race performances – is seeing her through to better days ahead.
In the past year alone, the Newtown resident has battled through a severe case of COVID-19 and dealt with the loss of her position at a major U.S. corporation where she was employed for 32 years.
Yet here we are, in the first month of 2023 and Lloyd appears to be running as well as ever.
In fact, in several recent Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series races, the 53-year-old Lloyd has been the first female finisher across the line.
“It’s been a really rough couple years, between COVID – my boys are in school (Robby at Bucks County Community College; Danny at Council Rock North High School) and it’s tough on them,” Lloyd said in a recent telephone interview. “Losing my job after those years, it’s been rough. But we’re picking ourselves up, getting out there, training and looking up.’’
Those long hours of training can provide some peace of mind and perhaps a chance to contemplate what lies ahead.
“Absolutely,’’ she said. “Running definitely helps. Just getting out there, clearing your head. In a way, it’s like meditation. Being out there and setting a goal for yourself. . .like last May in the Broad Street Run (10-miler), I set a goal of running under 70 minutes and I did it.
“So that was great, very uplifting. It gives you confidence. It’s like ‘I’m OK, I can do this.’+”
Back in 2018, Lloyd not only won her age group at the Rehoboth Beach Half-Marathon, she took home the masters title against runners as much as eight years younger. Her 6:54 pace translated to a 81.9 national-class age-graded performance.
Things were going along smoothly until the pandemic arrived and by the middle of 2022, the clouds began to appear.
“With the COVID going on, it’s kind of been like a rollercoaster,’’ she said. “I’m running well and then I have to take a break and then I start running well again.
“I had COVID in August. It kind of wiped me out for a few months. Finally around November I started getting back into running, doing a lot better than I had been. Before COVID I was actually running really well. I had done a marathon in April, the Revolutionary Run in July. Then the COVID kind of wiped me out for awhile.’’
The situation on the job front hasn’t been much fun either.
“That’s been a real tough part of my life, the last couple years,’’ she said. “I worked for Verizon for 32 years – I have a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, master’s in computer and software engineering.’’
Her last year there, there was a reorganization.
“They called and said I was being laid off,’’ she said. “I’ve had a hard time getting over that. It’s really been tough.”
She’s been applying for other jobs and plans to continue in that field when the right position comes along.
In the meantime, she enjoys following the athletic exploits of her two sons. Robby has been among the top finishers along with running pal Alex Carideo in the Winter Series races and Danny is enjoying some strong interest in track at CR North.
Robby is looking to resume his running career at one of several colleges on a list which includes Temple, Kutztown and East Stroudsburg. The same day Christine broke 70 minutes at Broad Street, he finished in under 60.
Christine has a sparkling 3:18 marathon to her credit and managed to complete the legendary Boston Marathon in 2018 on an absolutely miserable weather day.
Her training partner, Lisa Weaver, was by her side through the whole ordeal.
“That was rainy, cold, windy,’’ Lloyd recalled. “We kind of laugh about that. We were running up Heartbreak Hill and there was like one person standing out there.
“The guy was like, ‘Ladies! If you don’t get up that hill, the current is going to just wash you back down!’ We were just laughing.”
But Lloyd made it to the finish line, which just validates that aforementioned line, “When the going gets tough. . .”
Sunday, Feb. 5
Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series Terrible Tyler 15K (9.3 miles), 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com