Madrigal finishes sixth in Boston Marathon


Courtesy of MarathonFoto.com

Madera’s Benny Madrigal runs the course during the Boston Marathon on April 18. Madrigal finished in the top three percent of all finishers and now turns his attention to the Berlin Marathon in September.

 

Madera’s Benny Madrigal came back from Boston last week after completing his sixth Boston Marathon.


“It feels like I ran a marathon,” he said. “I will take two very light weeks.”


The recently inducted Madera Athletic Hall of Famer competed on April 18 and came back to Madera on the 19th. He finished the marathon in two hours, 44 minutes, 47 seconds. It was the first time he ran the marathon in Boston since 2019.


"I did a virtual version,” he said. “I had a few guys run with me to run it. I did the best I could. That’s all I had that day. I left it all on the course.”


Madrigal went into the Boston Marathon ranked 554th. He finished in the 800s, but still finished in the top 97 percent of finishers.


“I had a vitamin deficiency I found out about with some blood work a couple of days before,” he said. “I tried to fix it, but I knew it was going to take a little longer. I did the best I could. I’m fixing those little things.”


Madrigal’s best time came earlier this year at the Sacramento Marathon in two hours, 33 minutes. He has run a 2:35 in Boston before, but fell back a little last week.


“Every race is different. I went into this Boston fitter,” he said. “My workouts were better and great. I had a rough couple of weeks leading up to it. I now I have something quick in my legs. It was a learning experience and I did the best I could on that day. That’s how diabetes is. Whatever it throws at you, you have to know how to get around it.”


Madrigal says when he runs, he tries to run for something. He is a member of Team NovoNordisk, a company that is driving change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases. NovoNordisk sponsors a running team and runners like Madrigal to spread the word that diabetes isn’t an excuse to not do anything.


“The idea is to show people what’s possible while managing diabetes,” he said. “Whoever is getting diagnosed with diabetes in the future will have something positive to read about with my social media posts. With team NorvoNordisk, people can get good news about people living and chasing their dream with diabetes. Not everyone is dreaming about running a marathon. They might want to get a degree, get married or have kids, but diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of that. You should still go out and not lose those dreams or goals. It’s about having that information in front of you.”


Madrigal didn’t have that positive information when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in college.


“I thought I was okay,” he said. “It wasn’t until it got real bad and had to go into the hospital and they let me know. It was great because now I knew what I had to do to take care of myself. When I was diagnosed, there wasn’t much information out there. I read a lot of negative stories. Now, the goal is to put some good stuff out there to chase some goals and dreams.”


Madrigal enjoyed his time at Boston, but he was also running with a cause and heard many inspirational yells along the way.


“People were cheering all the time,” he said. “I had a ‘Changing Diabetes’ shirt on. People were rooting me on and saying ‘I have diabetes.’ Kids were showing me their insulin pumps. It’s inspiring. It was a great race for me. It didn’t feel great. I wasn’t feeling the best. To hear people cheer and get them moving, they were happy. I want to make the biggest difference I can. There’s a Type 1 diabetes athlete running the Boston Marathon. That’s a big deal.”


Returning to Boston is always memorable for Madrigal. Not only is the Boston Marathons one of the biggest marathons in the world, but it’s also where met his wife.


“Boston is the Super Bowl of marathons,” he said. “It’s the second-most televised event next to the Super Bowl. They had 9,500 volunteers and more than 30,000 finishers. It looked like two walls of people for 26.2 miles. I met my wife during the first one. It’s a lot more than a race. Now, running is more than running. There’s a mission why I’m training and competing and doing well in these races. I had my wife and daughter there. I had some local friends come out and support.


“The world was represented in this race. I saw Ukranian runners, Brazil, Argentina and more. To be out there, it’s a party in the streets. We can get together and enjoy a run. They do a great job organizing the event. The mission is always to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes. All the shouting I heard was mind blowing. I’m speechless and it was very emotion. You know people are watching. I connected with a local juvenile diabetes research foundation group. I got to talk to a lot of recently diagnosed individuals. To see their eyes light up after the race was great. You can’t have a bad day when you see them.”


Next for Madrigal is the Berlin Marathon in September. Berlin is one of the six major marathons — Chicago, New York, Berlin, England, Tokyo and Boston.


“The goal is to break 2:30. I got closer in Sacramento,” he said. “Training is going well and I’m feeling good. Berlin is a good place to break 2:30. That’s been my goal for a bit. It’s realistic. Berlin is very ideal for that. It’s very fast. I get to go out and represent. It’s exciting to complete another major.”


Madrigal also feels proud every time he finishes a marathon and he hears, “Now finishing, Benny Madrigal of Madera, California.”


“The City of Madera is family. I’m always proud,” he said. “When they announce me at the finish, the feeling is hard to describe, but it’s always exciting. The support I’ve gotten from the community, you can’t measure that with much. I can walk to anybody in the street and they know you. They are looking out for you. I love the City of Madera. It’s become family. It’s a great community.


“I’m very happy with my results. I’m happy with the opportunity to continue. I finished the race healthy.”