At Pauwels Consulting, we value a healthy mind in a healthy body. Many of our colleagues are very sporty and regularly participate in fun races, cycling events and other sporting activities.

Tijs Billemon is a recruitment coach at Pauwels Consulting. On July 16, Tijs will take part in this year’s Ironman UK competition in Bolton. Of course, we can only admire and encourage this kind of initiative. That’s why we decided to support and sponsor Tijs.

We had a brief conversation with Tijs and Bert Pauwels – Managing Director at Pauwels Consulting – about the preparations for this extreme sporting challenge.

The Billemon Brothers are ready for Ironman UK in Bolton

Tijs, for those who might not know you, can you briefly introduce yourself?

Tijs: Sure! My name is Tijs Billemon, I’m 31 years old and I work as a recruitment coach at Pauwels Consulting. My job is to train new recruiters and support and guide our current recruiters. I make sure the performance and quality of our recruitment team are above par.

I started working as a recruiter at Pauwels Consulting in 2009, under the guidance of Van Nguyen and Jan Fyens. After that, I also became account manager. But – five years ago – I decided to make a career switch. I wanted to educate people and started working full time as a high school teacher.

And then – some years ago – I was literally standing on the playground when Bert Pauwels contacted me again. (smiling) One thing led to another. And by now, I’ve been working part time at Pauwels Consulting again for a number of years. It’s a great challenge to help shape the future of this company.

I understand that you have set a challenging sporting goal this year. Can you tell us more about this challenge?

Tijs: I have been actively participating in triathlons for several years now. Last year, for example, Pauwels Consulting already published an article about my successful Alpe D’Huez Triathlon and the future goals I set back then.

Now – six months later – I have carefully planned the goals and events for 2017. On July 16, my brother and I will take part in this year’s Ironman UK competition in Bolton. This is a competition for both professional athletes as well as amateurs, and it’s one of the 36 complete triathlons Ironman organizes every year in different parts of the world.

Why this fascination with Ironman?

Tijs: It’s an interest that has grown over the years, actually. I’ve always had an affinity with sports: football, cycling and – ultimately – triathlons… At first, I thought it was very nice to just be able to participate in triathlon competitions. They are always well organized and the athletes are always up for a chat.

Professional and recreational athletes stand side by side and encourage each other during each competition. I really like that vibe. I also haven’t seen the typical “fighting spirit” of triathlon athletes in any other sports discipline.

After that, it all went rather quickly for me. This is only my third triathlon season, but I have already had the chance to participate in several fun competitions. So now, it’s time for a real challenge: 3.8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and a marathon.

Billemon Brothers - Ironman UK in Bolton - Pauwels Consulting

I haven’t seen the typical “fighting spirit” of triathlon athletes in any other sports discipline.
Sounds like a challenge! But you are not going to face this challenge on your own?

Tijs: That’s right. My brother is as excited about triathlon competitions as I am. He has a background in cycling and loves endurance sports. We often swim or cycle together during trainings.

As sports enthusiasts, we are also evenly matched, which adds an extra dimension to every competition we join together. That’s why – at some point – we suddenly came up with the idea for the “Billemon Brothers”.

We decided to launch a Facebook page, and we are working hard on the design of our first joint blog page. This way, we want to give our followers a look behind the scenes so they can get an idea of how we prepare for the Ironman competition.

Secretly, we also hope more and more friends and followers will join triathlon competitions because of this. Some of our friends already said they will participate in a summer triathlon, actually, but the more the merrier of course! (smiles)

Pauwels Consulting has decided to sponsor the Billemon Brothers. What does this mean for you?

Tijs: We have always experienced triathlon competitions from a recreational point of view. This means we always managed to pursue our hobby on a relatively tight budget.

This year, however, things are slightly different. We’re more ambitious than ever. And if we want to achieve a good result in Bolton, we must prepare ourselves as well as possible. This applies to our physical condition as well as our equipment.

That’s why we are very grateful Pauwels Consulting decided to financially support us. Bert is the perfect example of a Managing Director who constantly sets new and challenging goals for himself and for Pauwels Consulting and – on top of that – always manages to achieve these goals. We hope we’ll be able to follow his example by achieving our athletic goals.

How do you prepare yourself for this year’s Ironman UK?

Tijs: Preparation is everything. This winter, we trained for countless hours to improve our physical condition.

And this week, we’re leaving for Mallorca to extend our training. There, we’ll also take part in an international triathlon. We’ve planned some competitions in France, Austria and The Netherlands as well, in preparation for the Ironman UK edition in Bolton.

We also acquired top cycling equipment this year. And of course a specific diet plan, regular evaluations and muscle-strengthening exercises are also crucial to perform as well as possible.

Fortunately, we are not on our own; we are guided by a sports doctor, a physiotherapist and a swim coach. And of course, we get a great deal of support from our family and friends.

Billemon Brothers - Ironman UK in Bolton - Pauwels Consulting 2

At Pauwels Consulting, we really value sportsmanship and a healthy lifestyle. It’s part of our DNA, part of our corporate culture.
Bert, why did you decide to sponsor Tijs?

Bert: At Pauwels Consulting, we really value sportsmanship and a healthy lifestyle. It’s part of our DNA, part of our corporate culture.

That’s why we often organize bike events and regularly participate in running events. Those are ideal team building activities as well.

Tijs’s triathlon is a great and ambitious initiative. I can only applaud such sporting activities among our employees.

What do you expect from this challenge? Do you think the Billemon Brothers will make it?

Bert: I am firmly convinced that both brothers will meet this challenge successfully. I know Tijs as a real go-getter and as a great sportsman.

In the past, Tijs has already proven his worth as well. Last year, he finished in 24th place during the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon competition.

The brothers also leave little to chance. When I hear how well Tijs and his brother are preparing themselves – with the necessary guidance, of course – I definitely see them reaching the finish line. Of course, it won’t be easy.

Is there anything else you want to share with the Billemon Brothers?

Bert: Certainly. I wish both brothers lots of success, great health, successful preparations without injuries and – above all – lots of fun! I’m looking forward to their achievements. Make us proud. I’m crossing my fingers.

Thanks for this interview gentlemen. Tijs, we wish you and your brother the best of luck! And we will soon post more information about your achievements on our website!


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