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Ellensburg resident Nicole Klauss turned to running when roller derby was canceled due to COVID-19, and completed her first half marathon on Saturday.

“I’m not a runner, so training for a half marathon and then actually doing it was a really big challenge for me, both mentally and physically,” Klauss said.

The Nuun half marathon was entirely virtual, with runners from across the U.S. completing the 13.1 miles on a course of their choosing on Nov. 7. Klauss finished the virtual half marathon, with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 37 seconds, and an average pace of 12 minutes, 11 seconds per mile. Her route followed the Rotary Park loop through the park down to Dolarway Road.

“Since this was my first half marathon ever, my big goal was to just finish it,” Klauss said. “I was pleasantly surprised to break three hours.”

Klauss started training in mid-September and ran about 125 miles in total to prepare for the half marathon, building up in distance each week.

While some sports, both professional and recreational, have made a comeback during COVID, roller derby is not one of them, as the full-contact aspect makes the sport particularly dangerous for spreading COVID-19. The overarching international governing body of roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, has a detailed return to play guide with regions having to meet baseline conditions before even returning to non-contact practices, but most places in the U.S. are not even hitting baseline conditions. Ellensburg is among those places not hitting baseline requirements.

Roller derby players from across the globe have been forced to take up new hobbies during this challenging time of COVID. Some have turned to park skating on ramps and bowls, where physical contact is nonexistent, while others have turned to non-skating hobbies like baking or hiking.

Klauss has skated for Ellensburg’s Rodeo City Rollergirls, Seattle’s Rat City Roller Derby and Eastern Washington pickup team Chaos Theory.

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