California-native Benny Madrigal describes his childhood in one word – active. He played nearly every sport imaginable, and by high school, he focused exclusively on running, both on the track and cross-country. Madrigal earned all-American honors and went on to attend Fresno Pacific University where he continued running and earned all-conference honors.
Following graduation, Madrigal began coaching fellow runners and took a position as a long-term substitute teacher in a special education classroom. As he was adjusting to professional life, the then 22-year-old was blindsided by a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Fortunately, Madrigal didn’t lose his competitive nature and soon found a supportive health care provider that helped him to manage his diabetes properly. He began training again and his career continued to advance. When it came to competing, Madrigal knew he needed to take it slowly and focused on setting realistic goals and taking small steps.
Getting back to pre-diagnosis race form didn’t come easily or quickly. It wasn’t just regaining his physical strength, but also his confidence and mental awareness, but slowly it came back to him. Five years after his diagnosis, Madrigal had won the Santa Rosa Marathon, Mountains to Beach Marathon and set course records at the DC Marathon and NorthFace Endurance.
Additional standout accolades for Madrigal include winning several half marathons such as the Bakersfield Half, Judgement Day Half, Modesto Half and earning podium finishes in more than 20 races. Madrigal currently holds the 5K record at the Second Wind 5K and has completed the Boston Marathon four times.
Madrigal feels joining Team Novo Nordisk has helped him reach people and have a more significant impact on not only the diabetes community but also anyone who needs motivation for exercise and healthy eating. He recognizes that he is still young when it comes to racing marathons and continues to learn about managing his blood glucose during training and racing, so he only expects his times to improve.
In addition to being an ambassador for the diabetes community, professional athlete and full-time special education teacher in Madera, California, the 31-year-old Madrigal is also a Latin dance teacher and a father.