I was born in Leuven, Belgium in 1968 and I have been known to do all sorts of things at the wrong moments in life.
Sportswise, it started out well enough with gymnastics, ballet, football and running as a child. The running was actually very promising. I used to win school district races quite easily when I was 12 years old.
Then we moved and soon my interests shifted. I quit running and started to play guitar in a hard rock band. Way cooler.
Fast forward to 2012. I was living in Lisbon and writing my alternative guide to Angola, the southern African country I would move to a year later. Most of my days were spent on the laptop at the kitchen table, so I thought I had to do something for my physical condition. Three months later, I ran a local 20k race, my first ever half marathon in 1:23 and by the end of the year my first marathon in 2:54.
After moving to Luanda, Angola, my times kept getting better and a friend from a local running group suggested I try to run the majors for podium finishes in my age bracket. I started in Tokyo in 2018, followed by Berlin and New York City in 2019. I won all three. My official net time in Berlin of 2:26:10 is to the best of my knowledge a world leading time for 2019 and according to the now discontinued database of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, I'm the 10th fastest marathon runner ever in the 50-54 age group and according to Jack Daniels' age grading, that Berlin race is equivalent to a 2:08 marathon at age 30. Definitely a case of the wrong moment in life to be at this level.
Like all the other things I've done in my life, I'm pretty obsessed with learning every single thing I can about what I dedicate a lot of my time and resources to. Running was no different. After a ton of books and studying, I thought I'd round if off with a coaching certification. USATF level 1 was available with online classes for the first time due to Covid and I immediately took the chance. I've now added a USATF level 2 Endurance certificate to my coaching certifications.
The next running chapter is getting back to the remaining majors, but I also want to put my knowledge and experience to use and offer coaching services worldwide for runners like me or people who just want to take their running to the next level.
Living here in Luanda, where conditions for athletes are in most cases non-existing, I also want to give back a little bit to the country that's welcomed me and where I train in tropical heat and humidity to achive my goals. Part of my coaching revenue will be dedicated to train local runners to the best of my ability and help them reach their running goals as well.