Boulder's Nell Rojas, running in her first marathon, finished a strong 7th place in 2:31:23 at the 2018 California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 2nd.
Rojas ran negative splits, starting at 5:55 per mile for the first 10K, gradually increasing her pace through the middle miles, and finishing in 5:47 pace for the final 10K. Her conservative early pace allowed her to improve from 12th place to 7th over the last 12K. With three miles to go, she found herself in a footrace with Bridget Lyons who surged to finish in 2:31:00, good for 5th place in the USA National Championship race.
"I felt comfortable through the first 20-miles," recalls Rojas, "And I got lucky to find a good pace group through most of the race!"
In preparation for her debut marathon, Rojas competed in the Denver Rock 'n Roll Half-Marthon in October, the Longmont Turkey Trot 2-Miler, and the Brooklyn (NY) 5-Mile Turkey Trot, winning all three races.
Rojas plans to compete at Grandma's Marathon in June of next year in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Team Trials to be contested in Atanta in February, 2020.