Nell Rojas is on fire right now. This month, she signed a shoe deal with Adidas and recently finished the Houston Half Marathon in 9th place (with a PR of 1:09:42).
She was born into a Boulder, Colorado running family—I think it’s fair to say her dad, Ric Rojas, is a living legend in the running world. He was one of the first athletes to run for Nike, he won the very first BolderBoulder, and held the world record for the 15K. Now, he’s Nell’s coach—and she is following in his footsteps.
Nell walked onto the running program at Northern Arizona University as a freshman, and by her senior year, she’d earned a running scholarship. After college, she became a pro triathlete and dabbled in obstacle course racing before jumping into her first marathon. She signed up to race the California International Marathon, thinking she ought to have a marathon under her belt if she was going to eventually do an Ironman triathlon, which was her plan. But after finishing 7th with a time of 2:31, she realized she had a ton of potential as a runner—and she still hasn’t gotten around to that Ironman.
Since then, Nell’s running highlights include winning the BolderBoulder Citizen’s Race (a lifelong dream of hers); winning Grandma's Marathon (in 2:28, a blistering 5:40 pace), and finishing 9th at the 2020 Olympic marathon trials on a hilly course in Atlanta.
After a bit of a break due to an injury and the pandemic, she was the first American to cross the line at the 2021 Boston Marathon this fall, where she finished in 6th place overall. And this was immediately after lying in bed for days with a fever, wondering if she’d even be well enough to get to the start line.
Trigger warning: bulimia
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