Father and son team defy cerebral palsy to complete marathons
Eighteen-year-old Pablo Roas from Seville has cerebral palsy from birth, due to the rare West syndrome. Despite this, he enjoys running marathons with his father Jose Manuel.
“Pablo is this angel that we have here,” says Jose Manuel. “An angel with many limitations: he has his physiotherapists, his speech therapist and his special school. But that teaches us all to fly much more than we could expect.”
Together, they have finished six marathons, including Seville (three times), Madrid (twice) and New York.
Three years ago they won the Sport Life Magazine Award to add to prizes from La Razon newspaper and the Madrid Marathon itself. Last year they were nominated for the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports.
“The transformation during the race is a divine gift,” says Jose Manuel. “At that time, literally, I am his legs and he is my heart.”
Jose Manuel is a high school teacher who has been running for more than two decades. He is helped by his family and Juan, one of Pablo’s physiotherapists who accompanies them on the run.
At kilometre 34, Jose Manuel stops to receive massage for cramps. Due to a recent injury, Jose Manuel has not trained as much as he would have liked and the cramps appear earlier than normal. His physiotherapists tries to relieve the pain. But Jose Manuel is not worried.
“The goal of the race is enjoying it with my son,” he says.
Spectators cheer the father and son team on. Pablo responds with high-fiving and shouts of joy. After 5 hours and 18 minutes, Pablo and his father finish the race.
“Crossing the line with him fulfills the dream of living an adventure together,” says Jose Manuel.