Bolder Boulder names Ric Rojas, daughter Nell as official 2023 race starters

Nell Rojas has participated in just about every aspect of the Bolder Boulder throughout her life while evolving into one of the top women’s distance runners in the nation.

Her father, Ric Rojas, will forever be etched in the Bolder Boulder’s rich lore as the first winner of Boulder’s annual 10-kilometer running extravaganza.

This year, it will be one of the most recognizable families of the Boulder running scene that will spur the masses into their paces.

Nell Rojas, fresh off becoming the top American woman finisher at the Boston Marathon for the second consecutive time, and her father will serve as the official starters when the 43rd Bolder Boulder sets off on Memorial Day.

“It makes it just that more special that I get to do this with my dad,” Nell Rojas said. “I think it’s even more special for him more so because I think he’s very proud of me, but the Bolder Boulder also was a huge thing for him as an athlete, but also as a coach. He always pushed people in the Bolder Boulder since I was born. It’s a fun way to bring it around and have him have the opportunity to do this.”

Last month, Rojas completed the Boston Marathon with a personal-best mark of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 57 seconds, finishing 10th overall. Rojas also was the top American woman in the event last October.

A Boulder native and a graduate of Boulder High, Rojas ran the pro race at the Bolder Boulder for the first time last year, when the event returned from a two-year hiatus spurred by the COVID pandemic. The quick turnaround following the Boston Marathon made competing in this year’s race impossible, but Rojas was more than happy to jump at the chance to play another role as the official starter.

“I was pretty bummed not to run it,” Nell Rojas said. “I would love to come run it when I am in shape and when I can do well. I’d love to win the pro race some year. But any year I’m doing Boston, it’s just not feasible. I was bummed to say no. But when they asked me to start, that’s just so cool. And for my dad and my family, it’s such a family event and such a big part of our history, I’m super excited.”

Ric Rojas won the inaugural Bolder Boulder in 1979 and is the one-time world record holder in the 15K. He remains an elite running coach with his Boulder-based company, Ric Rojas Running. By tapping the father-daughter tandem as the official starters, the Bolder Boulder is bridging the generations between the race’s humble beginnings and a modern event that attracts elite runners from across the globe.

“Our first thought was, obviously she raced Boston and we watched her run closely,” Bolder Boulder race director Cliff Bosley said. “The first thought was to invite her for a spot on the pro team and represent the USA. But the Boston Marathon is an event that has kind of a long recovery. When she was talking to us we thought maybe not this year. So then we thought having Nell and her father as the official starters, that would really work.”

posted Monday May 22nd
by Pat Rooney