BOULDER, Colo. — Marathon runner Nell Rojas works really hard.
"I run anywhere from 100-124 miles a week," Rojas said with a laugh. "I’m on the track once or twice a week and I’m in the weight room 2-4 times a week."
All that hard work paid off for the Boulder native when she, for the second time, was the first American woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon -- arguably the country’s most prestigious race.
"This buildup was so hard for me. It was like no other buildup I’ve had. I was honestly so happy and so relieved. I’m still processing it," she said. "It’s still kind of mind-blowing to me. Not only being the first American but for me I beat Molly Seidel who is a bronze medalist. I beat some really amazing runners. It means a lot."
Rojas not only accomplished breaking her personal-best time, but she also raised almost $7,000 for Black Girls Code, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education for Black women.
"Something was missing," Rojas said. "That I was just running it for myself which is also important but I decided I really want to run this for a charity. Half of what I run for is myself and half of what I run for is representing the Latino community and fundraising for minorities and I think it’s very important and it’s like running for a bigger cause."
Boulder’s speedster cherishes her time running for Boulder High School and the support that she’s since received from the community.
"It was an amazing place to run. I had so much fun. My best friends are from my track and cross country team still to this day," she said. "The local running stores have parties for me after all of my races. I’m super lucky to be from here."
Rojas finished ninth at the 2020 Olympic trials and says that it only fueled her desire to be great even more: "It showed me that I belong there and that I can compete with those girls."
Rojas primarily trains at Tom Watson Park in Boulder. There are multiple trails with a beautiful pond that has views of the front range. When she finds herself taking breaks from training at the park, she dreams of Paris 2024.
"This is a good place to do it because you have such an amazing backdrop," she said. "I’ve been thinking about that for the last three to four years as the long term goal. I just need to make sure I’m patient and peak at that right time."
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