Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Friday 12 April |
Aleteia logo
Inspiring Stories
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Man with 76% disability finishes Barcelona Marathon to shouts of “Victory!”


Twitter / Joan Andreu Perez

Alex Roca, 31 years old and 76% disabled, finishes the Barcelona Marathon

Cécile Séveirac - published on 04/14/23

Alex Roca is the first person with his level of disability to complete a marathon.

Alex Roca is 31 years old and comes from Barcelona. His passion is running – a passion that may seem very ordinary, except when you know that Alex is 76% physically disabled. Since the age of six months he has been living with cerebral palsy due to encephalitis. The doctors had expected two possibilities for the little boy: death or a vegetative state. Alex seems to have answered “neither,” and he has chosen resilience and courage as his watchwords instead.

The left side of his body is mostly paralyzed and he has to use sign language to make himself understood. These circumstances could have prevented him from living his dream, but he didn’t let them stop him: on Sunday, March 19, this extraordinary athlete completed the Barcelona Marathon, which as an official marathon is slightly over 26 miles long. He completed it in 5 hours, 50 minutes and 51 seconds. Alex Roca crossed the finish line to cheers of “Victoria!” (“Victory!”) from the entire team that followed, trained, and supported him:

An accomplished athlete

This is a great achievement for Roca, but also for the history of the race, since he has become the first person in the world with such a degree of disability to finish an official marathon. However, this was not the first time Alex had done something similar. He had already managed to finish several races, such as the Titan Desert Race in 2019 and the Pilgrim Race in 2018. He has also completed five triathlons, one aquathlon, and five half marathons.

“Anyone with a goal, no matter how many difficulties and fears they may have, can achieve it with sacrifice, attitude, and teamwork,” he shared in a video posted on his social media. “I decided to run the Barcelona Marathon so that people who are afraid or can’t reach their goal can see me cross the finish line of a marathon and say to themselves, ‘I can do it too.'”

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.