Team Ruberti : Less than 3 hours for a marathon with the Hippocampe Marathon

The Ruberti team is using a Hippocampe Marathon wheelchair for 5 or 6 years. After several races and a victory in the 10 km wheelchair race at the Handitract competition in 43 minutes and 2 seconds, Frédéric and his son Mattéo should be on the starting line of the New York Marathon in a few days. The Vipamat team wants to know and pass on the beautiful story of this team, who is almost like any other.

« Making things happen »

Frédéric Ruberti is a former professional cyclist. After his career and a few years without practicing any sport, he started running. As a competitor, Frédéric quickly achieved great performances in races, winning the Beaujolais Marathon in 2014 and the Zurich Marathon in 2015.

team ruberti

Disability and running

Progressively, he passed on his passion for jogging to his son Mattéo, who has autism. The kilometres went by and the outings became longer. “Mattéo found a certain balance in running, he was always asking for more.

“Through sport you can achieve similar things, whether you are able-bodied or disabled. The race has helped Mattéo to develop in many ways. After obtaining his CAP and BEP diplomas, he is now in his second year of a vocational diploma in landscaping and is following a normal school curriculum with the help of a School Aids. Those who knew him before have seen him transform and open up, and the race has played a big part in that.”

mattéo ruberti


In parallel to everything he is going through with his son, a few years ago Frédéric learns that Véronique, a long-time friend, has multiple sclerosis. An osteopath and physiotherapist in the cycling world (21 Tours de France), she is also a great sports fan (former French Judo Champion). Her illness deprives her of certain physical capacities and Frédéric is looking for a solution to help her. He suggested a duo in the Hippocampe Marathon and Trail, so that they could experience the adrenaline of a race and the atmosphere of a start together.

“I used to run my marathons alone, so I thought of this solution. If I enjoy running alone, then two would be even better. I wanted it to be a source of motivation for her to keep running. Once again to show that sport can help you overcome disabilities.”

After a few trials in France, the duo travelled all over the world to be present at the biggest events for runners. Together, Frédéric and Véronique run the Berlin, Boston, New York, Rio de Janeiro Marathon and in France the Beaujolais Marathon. Best time in New York 2019 with a 1st place in the Duo category in 02h59min.

marathon usa wheelchair


While fun and sharing are always present, performance is now one of the pillars of this team.

This year, Frédéric and Mattéo have been training hard to be at the start of the New York Marathon on 7 November. The health conditions did not allow them to travel, so they changed their plans and set out to attack another big city, a destination they prefer to keep secret for the moment!  At the start of the race, they are regulars. “There are those who know us and know Mattéo’s handicap. And then there are the others, curiosity, and we try to explain our story and our ambitions.”

team ruberti marathon athènes

And with Hippocampe Marathon wheelchair ?

The intensive training sessions between father and son allow Frédéric to keep a regular rhythm.

“I don’t have a precise program in Hippocampe. The idea, to be successful, is to be able to run this marathon alone! With a wheelchair, you understand the terrain in a different way. When you go up, it’s quickly very hard and when you end up going down, you have to brake so that your legs can follow. The wheelchair easily picks up speed and you have to be able to keep up with the pace, especially in the last few kilometers of a marathon. The arms are also very much requested, and you can feel the effort in your upper body, especially after 40 kilometers! It’s not easy at first”.

ruberti handitract

Their message

A few days before the start, Frédéric, Mattéo and Véronique share what they learn from these races: “It’s a shame that there aren’t more of us to make things happen. When you see people’s faces at the end of a race, it’s so much more fun than when you’re alone. We would like to continue to democratize sport and disability. Without forgetting that the performance can be present, and in this way go beyond the disability. In the United States they are used to seeing wheelchairs in marathons. The welcome there is incredible when you run a marathon in a Hippocampe. I’d like it to be like that everywhere one day.”

arrivee marathon boston fauteuil roulant