Jim Costello completed the Boston Marathon this month, enduring unseasonably cold temperatures, heavy rain and raw winds to finish the 26-mile race in less than 4 hours.
But after everything he’s been through, marathons are hardly a challenge.
In March 2015, the Riverton, NJ, letter carrier was diagnosed with a plum-sized metastatic brain tumor that doctors quickly removed — only to discover another tumor in his brain less than a month later.
After the second tumor’s removal, Costello endured a week of physically draining radiation treatments. He worked as often as he could, texting his bosses each day to let them know whether he would make it in.
“Most of the time, I did make it in,” he said. “It was very hard. I was very fatigued.”
Three years later, Costello is feeling like his old self again. The longtime runner wakes up at 4 each morning and runs 10-12 miles on a treadmill.
Doctors gave him the greenlight this year to compete in the Boston Marathon, the third time he has finished the grueling race since 2008.
Costello’s finish time — 3 hours, 59 minutes and 17 seconds — earned praise from his co-workers, who honored him with a party.
“We all joked that we couldn’t walk 26 miles in 4 days, let alone less than 4 hours,” said Riverton Postmaster Tina Horner.
Costello, 53, credits his family — including his wife, Diane, and children Steven, Megan and Ryan — with getting him through the past three years.
“If anything happens to me, they now each have a Boston Marathon shirt and medal, and they can tell their kids, ‘This is what your grandfather did,’” he said.
He also thanks his co-workers, including a nephew and brother-in-law who are postal employees, as well as his customers, who sent him more than 200 letters of encouragement when he was sick.
Costello, who’ll mark 30 years with USPS in June, doesn’t plan to run any more marathons.
He has a new goal: reaching his 60th birthday.
“My doctor is shy of saying this has been a miracle,” he said. “But I’ve had no bad side effects. I’ve been able to get up and run in the morning and work every day. I’m very happy with the way I’m progressing.”