American Liz Costello, who gradually has moved up from the mile to the marathon, would love to debut under 2:30 at the 2017 Boston marathon

April 15, 2017

Yesterday at the elite athlete press conference for the 2017 Boston Marathon, we got a chance to talk to Liz Costello about her debut marathon that will take place on Monday.

When we asked Costello, a 29-year-old Princeton grad, if she was excited or nervous for her debut, she replied, “Both.” As for her goals, Costello wasn’t afraid to tell us what she was hoping to accomplish.

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“I would love to debut under 2:30 but the marathon is an unknown so I’ll be positive about 2:30 to 2:32, but anything north of that I’ll come away disappointed, assuming the environmental conditions (are decent),” said Costello.

Costello, the only marathoner in her New Balance Boston group, said she greatly enjoyed spending January in Flagstaff.

“It was wonderful as I was able to connect with some other runners and get some advice from people in the running mecca that is Flagstaff. I really appreciate the support that Betsy Saina and Kim Conley in particular gave me,” said Costello, was also full of praise for her New Balance Boston teammates who helped her get ready for the marathon by doing parts of her workouts or simply driving her out to Hopkinton for a workout she did on the race course.

However, Costello also said she learned to embrace training alone as being a prerequisite for marathon success.

Liz Costello in 2016 Liz Costello in 2016

“I asked Kim (Conley) who she was training with in her (marathon) buildup. She said if you end up training alone that’s fine as you inevitably will end up alone for parts of a marathon so it’s good to practice running hard while you were tired (and alone). So I appreciated the reminder of that,” said Costello.

Costello, who won the Ivy League mile title in 2008, said becoming a long-distance runner has been a gradual process.

“When I first started track, I thought I’d do the 100-meter dash for years to come. Throughout my Princeton career, I thought I was a 1500 runner. When I went to Tennessee (for a 5th year), I started to realize maybe I wasn’t a mid-d runner as I can’t run a 53 in the quarter. It’s really been a gradual process in moving up and increasing my mileage,” said Costello, who got up to 110 miles a week during her buildup but was probably running no more than 65 or 70 in college (she said she doesn’t know as she didn’t keep a training log).

When asked what advice did her coach, 1996 Olympic marathoner Mark Coogan, gave her, Costello responded: “Mark has advised that I try to enjoy this weekend a little bit as well. Take it all in – allow myself to have some fun with it. He and everyone else has emphasized the patience that is required at the beginning of this race – he knows I’m generally not a patient person.”

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