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Speedy Darien Woman Catches Marathon Bug

Liz Herbert will bring a ton of race experience to her first Boston Marathon on April 18. Very little of it, however, is at the grueling 26.2-mile distance. The run from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston will be only her second time running the distance. Her first was in the New York City Marathon in 2009.

"I never would have considered running a marathon without the support of the Waveny Running Club ,'' Herbert said of the group that meets Tuesday mornings at the New Canaan park. "I joined them a few years ago for some 'me' time, and everyone was talking about marathons. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on me."

Herbert ran 3:17:23 at New York to earn her Boston number. She has made her name in Fairfield County running circles, however, at shorter distances. Her favorite distance is the 5K, and this year she won the overall series title in the Boston Buildup Running Series. She finished second last year overall in the Westport Summer Series, where she won three of the 10 races. She also ran cross country and the mile in high school and for Syracuse University.

"I'm more passionate about running now than I was when I ran in college,'' says Liz, who lives in Darien with her husband, Dr. Joshua Herbert, and children Josie, 6, and Josh, 8. "Toward the end in college, I loved it. Before then, I felt like I was expected to do it for my coaches or my parents. Now I feel like I'm running more for me."

She enjoyed the NYC Marathon, where she was 232nd among 15,369 women's finishers. "It was incredible,'' Herbert said. "I wanted to do New York because I lived there for eight years. I was high-fiving policemen and having a great time. Around the halfway point, I thought maybe I didn't train enough. It was a positive experience. The crowds were fantastic. I feel like it's the closest I'll ever get to being a professional athlete."

Herbert has a busy running calendar: She'll participate in the Ragnar Relay from Woodstock to Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., next month, and in the popular Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire in September. She also enjoys the variety of local races.

Herbert tuned up for Boston by running a 1:28:46 in the New York City Half Marathon on March 20, an average of 6:46 per mile. She's also considering a return to the New York City Marathon in the fall. The focus now, however, is Boston. "I'm looking forward to it,'' Herbert said. "I'm just thrilled to be running in it. Just to be there is a big accomplishment."

Have you run the Boston Marathon? What has been your experience? Start the discussion below!

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