posted 2011-11-10 14:42:10

Lizzy Mahoney: Wonder Woman

Track Star’s Work Ethic Propels Her To Success

Sean Messina


Staff Writer




Lizzy Mahoney is a supreme athlete. Originally from Auburn, the Hunter junior is a two-time CUNYAC cross-country champion, the runner of the year for 2009, last year’s sportsmanship award winner, and has won X out of X races she entered during this current cross-country season. She also competes in indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring.

When asked about what her goals were for the season, Mahoney responded, “I’m trying to win titles here!”

Mahoney was in seventh grade when she first joined the cross-country team at her junior high school. She had grown up playing football and baseball with friends, but it wasn’t until her friend joined the cross-country team that she decided to do the same.

I was not good at all,” said Mahoney of her initial experience. “I had no strength or endurance. I was even lapped running a mile.” Needless to say, this was just a start to what would become a great career in the sport.

The winter between the cross-country and track seasons, I started doing intramurals and I started working out and getting into better shape,” Mahoney explained. “I stuck with it because I loved it and that’s what made me put the work in.”

This work ethic has persisted in her routine up until now, driving her ahead of the competition in every race.

Of Mahoney’s great drive, Hunter coach Ed Zarowin had only this to say: “If you want to win championships, you need to do what Lizzy does”.

But there is yet another secret to her performance, one that is not as obvious as hard work. Her diet helps her perform at her peak.

In the past, she would get sick from eating a normal diet and pushing her body to the limits. She decided to make a switch. Now, she follows a vegan diet, and she credits her dietary change for helping bring her to the top.

Of all her great victories as a Hunter athlete, Mahoney recalls two particular races as her favorite. One was the CUNYAC cross-country championship in fall 2010. After her and her team finished in third place in the 2009 competition, they came back with a bang to storm to the title.

In cross-country, the lowest score wins. Hunter finished the competition with 19 points, just four short of a perfect 15. The next best school was in the 50s.

It was Hunter domination,” she beamed. “I loved it.”

Her other favorite moment was when she and her distance medley team qualified for the ECAC championships in outdoor track.

Mahoney is loving her time at Hunter, both in athletics and in life. She chose to come to Hunter because of its strong academics and because it would give her a chance to live in the city.

The track coach, Ed Zarowin, also helped her make her decision. He is now in his 29th year as the Hunter track and cross-country coach.

He has coached so many great All-Americans and so many great athletes, and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Mahoney.

Of the three different track seasons, Mahoney is most comfortable during indoor. “I like it because everything is controlled. It’s same track, same conditions, and the same environment.” With all variables removed, it is easier to track your improvement.

Of course, she enjoys cross-country and outdoor as well. “During those seasons, weather and course conditions change how your race,” she explained. “But I love cross-country for the team part of it and for the challenge of racing in the woods.”

For any aspiring athletes out there, Mahoney’s incredible success shows that anyone can become a great athlete provided they have the proper work-ethic, the discipline to treat their body right, and the drive to succeed.

Mahoney typically does two-a-day workouts three times a week, and allots herself one day of rest for week for recovery.

Oh, and she also has asthma, something you’d imagine would negatively affect her running, but it doesn’t.

”I don’t even think of it as a thing. I take my inhaler and I get on with it,” she said matter-of-factly. “It makes workouts harder sometimes, but I just power through.”