Spanish runner with cerebral palsy completes Barcelona Marathon

On Sunday, 32-year-old Alex Roca of Catalonia, Spain, achieved something rare as he crossed the finish line of the Barcelona Marathon in 5:50:51, fulfilling his lifelong dream to run a marathon as an athlete with 76 per cent cerebral palsy, according to Nike.

The Catalan athlete, who is sponsored by Nike, contracted herpetic viral encephalitis at the age of six months, leaving him with 76 per cent cerebral palsy. The condition involves impaired movement and exaggerated reflexes, reducing the range of motion at various joints due to muscle stiffness.

Roca spent years training for this moment, running seven half marathons before taking on the marathon. Earlier this year, he ran the Granollers Half Marathon, finishing in 2:45:16. A month later, on Feb. 19, he completed the Barcelona Half Marathon in a personal best time of 2:38:28.

He told Spanish media El Mundo before the race that he wanted to send a message to the world. “The limit is up to you, and if you want to achieve an objective, whatever difficulties you have, with attitude, willpower, perseverance and resilience, you can achieve everything you propose. And if you do not achieve it, you will have given everything and must feel gratified.”

Roca was accompanied by his brother Victor and his interpreter, Valentí Sanjuán, who have for years accompanied him in many of his challenges and training.

San juán also helped Roca broadcast his entire race on his online Twitch channel, where friends and fans could follow every step of his journey.

posted Tuesday March 21st
by Running Magazine