How Alex Roca Campillo Made History as a Marathon Runner With Cerebral Palsy

3 min read

Runner close to finish line

Alex Roca Campillo, a runner with cerebral palsy (CP), recently became the first person with a 76% disability to complete a marathon. He adds the Barcelona Marathon to a long list of sporting achievements, including five triathlons and six half marathons.

Alex doesn’t plan on stopping there. After that history-making day in March 2023, Alex continues to inspire the world to think differently about disability. His philosophy is to think beyond limitations, believing everyone can achieve their dreams, whether in sports or daily life.

“You set your own limits.”
— Alex Roca Campillo, Athlete With Cerebral Palsy & Marathon Runner

Learn more about his journey as an athlete with cerebral palsy and a motivational speaker.

Overcoming the Barriers of Cerebral Palsy

At just six months old, Alex suffered herpetic viral encephalitis, an infection of the brain that causes inflammation. Unfortunately, it led to him developing cerebral palsy — and losing almost all mobility on the left side of his body.

Doctors told his family that Alex may never walk, talk, or live a long and fulfilling life. However, the 31-year-old has proven his original prognosis wrong time and time again.

“People have told me that I would not be able to live, to walk. That I would have no friends or a partner. That I would not study. I have transformed all of it into a ‘yes.’”
— Alex Roca Campillo, Athlete With Cerebral Palsy & Marathon Runner

Alex learned how to communicate through sign language and began receiving cerebral palsy treatment, including physical therapy.

Lifelong Athlete and Dreamer

After his grandfather taught him how to walk, Alex took up as many sports as he could. From soccer to running and mountain biking, he believes that he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to despite his diagnosis.

The 2023 Barcelona Marathon wasn’t Alex’s first time making history as an athlete with cerebral palsy. In 2019, he was the first athlete with cerebral palsy to finish the Titan Desert challenge, a six-day mountain biking excursion through the Moroccan desert.

Even with a long list of athletic accomplishments under his belt, Alex still dreamed of finishing a marathon someday. He trained physically and psychologically for an entire year until he crossed that finish line in just under six hours.

For Alex, it wasn't only the year of training that got him across the finish line but also the decades of pushing back against the difficulties of living with cerebral palsy.

Free Cerebral Palsy Guide

  • Diagnosis and prognosis
  • Treatments and therapies
  • Financial support options
Get your free guide

Making Change as an Athlete With Cerebral Palsy

Unfortunately, people living with cerebral palsy sometimes face discrimination and unfair assumptions in their daily lives. As Alex continued to achieve more, he began to understand that he played a part in setting his own limits. Only then did he learn he must quiet the assumptions that doctors and others continued to make about his abilities.

Alex believes that no one should tell you what you can or cannot accomplish. After completing the Titan Desert Challenge, he began sharing his story with the public to motivate others to push their limits.

To date, Alex has given more than 300 talks, inspiring fellow athletes with cerebral palsy and people living with disabilities to push their limits. By encouraging these perspective shifts, more children can feel confident and empowered to chase their dreams.

We’re Here to Help Children With Cerebral Palsy Make History

Alex's story is an inspiration to many, motivating not only athletes with disabilities but anyone facing challenges to pursue their goals regardless of the perceived obstacles.

“Your body does not define your capacity. If you have willpower and resilience, you can achieve a lot.
— Alex Roca Campillo, Athlete With Cerebral Palsy & Marathon Runner

The team at Cerebral Palsy Guide has seen firsthand the amazing things children with cerebral palsy achieve on a daily basis. Thanks to supportive community organizations and the work of Alex Roca Campillo and other cerebral palsy advocates, more inclusive spaces are being made for everyone. Together, we can help children with cerebral palsy make history within their communities and across the globe.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, we’re here for you. Our registered nurses can help you access treatment, therapy, and even legal help to ease your financial burden.

Reach out to us today at (855) 220-1101 to get the support your family needs.

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness

  1. Alex Roca. “Talks.” (n.d.). Retrieved from: Accessed on May 3, 2023.
  2. Paralympic Sport. (2023, April 4). “‘You set your own limits’, says history-maker Alex Roca.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 5, 2023.
  3. Runner’s World. (2023, March 23). “Athlete With Cerebral Palsy Finishes The Barcelona Marathon.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 3, 2023.
  4. Wilson Blog. (2023, February 16). “Meet Alex Roca: ‘I Want to Show People That You Set Your Own Limits.’” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 5, 2023.