fbpx

Alex Roca, the athlete with Cerebral Palsy, earns a Guiness World Record at the Barcelona Marathon

When I stood on the race track awaiting the sound of the starting pistol, my heart pounded. The only thing I could see ahead of me was the finish line.

  • 5 months ago
  • September 27, 2023
4 min read
Alex Roca was told he would live in a vegetative state his entire life by doctors after they diagnosed him with Cerebral Palsy, but he defied the odds and won a Guiness World Record. Alex Roca was told he would live in a vegetative state his entire life by doctors after they diagnosed him with Cerebral Palsy, but he defied the odds and won a Guiness World Record. | Photo courtesy of Alex Roca
INTERVIEW SUBJECT
Alex Roca Campillo was born in Barcelona in 1991. He is an athlete known for his achievements running in marathons and triathlons, despite having significant physical complications. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a young age, 76 percent of his body is disabled. He won the Guiness World Record for the fastest completion time in the Barcelona Marathon by a person with a disability. He continues to compete and offers motivational speeches around the world.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological condition that can present as issues with muscle tone, posture and/or a movement disorder. It is the result of damage to your brain during fetal development or another developmental disability that affects the way your brain develops. The signs and symptoms of CP appear early in childhood and can vary widely from person to person.

BARCELONA, Spain — My entire life, I rebelled against the limitations of my body. I pushed myself forward as an athlete, leaping over every obstacle thrown in my path. It seemed far-fetched that one day, my community would view me – a man whose body remains 76 percent disabled by cerebral palsy – as a symbol of strength.

Today, at 32 years old, I have completed five triathlons, one aquathon, and six half-marathons. I hold the Guinness World Record the fastest marathon by a person with a disability. I ran the Barcelona Marathon in five hours, 50 minutes, and 51 seconds. 

Read more sports stories from around the world.

Achieving a life-long dream: The Barcelona Marathon

In the days leading up to the Barcelona marathon, my nerves reached an all-time high. The negative thoughts which spurred my anxiety pointed to all the difficulties I might face. To defeat this self-limiting response, I laid awake at night imagining myself at the finish line, surrounded by the people I love.

As a man with Cerebral Palsy who has defied the doctors’ predictions, this marathon had become a life-long goal. Fear and difficulty would not defeat me now. I felt eager to push myself. A week before the race, countless messages filled my social media feed from the Barcelona soccer team – encouraging me to push forward.

When I stood on the race track awaiting the sound of the starting pistol, my heart pounded. The only thing I could see ahead of me was the finish line.

As a child, I allowed myself to dream

As a young boy with Cerebral Palsy, I grew up inspired. My grandfather filled my head with dreams. He taught me to walk and to envision a future full of achievement. When I saw my brother pushing his body to its limitations by competing in triathlons, a love for sports awoke inside of me.

“Will I ever be able to imitate him,” I wondered. The signs said no: when I plunged my body into the cold water I could barely swim. Hoisted upon the seat of a bicycle, I required another person to stabilize me.

Despite these experiences, I pushed the negative thoughts away and focused on my grandfather’s voice. Equipped with a wetsuit, mask, and three-wheeled bicycle, I began to train.

The race of a lifetime

The Barcelona marathon spans more than 42 kilometers. As the race ensued, old doubts crept in. “You won’t finish,” they said. “You’ll disappoint your family and your team.” But like a true athlete, I stood up to my own flawed thinking. “You are already a great success,” I told myself. “You are here!”

As I continued to run, a sudden sense of happiness replaced the anxiety. I began to feel lighter. Approaching the finish line, an overwhelming joy overcame me, looking upon the faces of my loved ones who waited nearby.

In total exhaustion, I laid down on the ground, my body still pumping adrenaline, and looked up at the sky. “I did it,” I repeated over and over in my mind. My family swarmed around me, their eyes full of tears, and gathered me in their embrace. To think, doctors once said I would live my whole life in a vegetative state, and now I break records.

Becoming an inspiration to people around the world 

Engaging in sports makes me feel like a superhero. Cerebral Palsy will never stop me from doing what I love. I always find a way. When I run, it sets me free from overthinking, connecting my body with my mind.

The beginning of a race is always the most difficult part. Frustration can set in when things don’t happen quickly enough, but every moment of my life offers me a chance to learn. I once hid so no one would see me. Today, I enter races wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt. I am ready to be seen by everyone.

My success has led me all over the world where I speak on an international stage. From the United States to the Netherlands to Japan, I share my message of perseverance and I watch as people’s faces reveal the emotion they carry inside.

I connect deeply with my audience and when the final words escape from my mouth, I look out at a room full of new friends. Avoiding the traditional lecture, I simply tell my story and my life experiences as a way to motivate others to believe in themselves. My goal is and always has been to change the rules of the game.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.

#GlobalCooperationNow

Pledge to be a #ConsciousCitizen today and demand #GlobalCooperationNow! by signing this petition. Sign Our Petition.

HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE STORY: PAYOUT: $200 OR MORE

NATIONAL FEATURE STORY: PAYOUT: $100-150 OR MORE
REGIONAL FEATURE STORY: PAYOUT: $50-100 OR MORE
SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT STORY: PAYOUT: $25-50
Photo Gallery (10 Photos) PAYOUT: $25
Photo Gallery (20 Photos) PAYOUT: $50

TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY
JOIN US

Related