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As you may know, Pauwels Consulting is a proud sponsor of ‘Be A Hero For One Day’, the ambitious sports project of ‘Marathon Man’ Stefaan Engels.
In 2010, Stefaan Engels ran a marathon every single day. In 2013, he inspires others to take up running and/or to improve their running skills. Every day individual runners and running teams run at least 1 (relay) marathon at the Watersportbaan in Ghent.
We are 8 months into the ‘Be A Hero For One Day’ project now. A great time for some reflection on what we have achieved so far. We asked Stefaan Engels about his experiences of the past 8 months.
Stefaan, summer has gone, september has arrived. ‘Be A Hero For One Day’ is in its 9th month now. To what extent has the project met and/or exceeded your expectations?
I will remember 2013 as a very successful year. The concept of ‘Be A Hero For One Day’ was a great success from the beginning. I have had lots of fun so far, and I have heard nothing but great responses from everyone involved.
I enjoy every single day.
We can find you at the Watersportbaan in Ghent almost 7 days a week. Aren’t you getting bored of this rigid schedule?
I get this question a lot, but I enjoy every single day. Every day I get the chance to help people push their boundaries. This is very rewarding. I have enjoyed many wonderful moments in the past few months.
I have met so many great people in the past few months and every individual story, every personal motivation, every achievement is unique. Moreover, the conversations on and around the running track have sparked my imagination for future projects.
What was your best moment so far?
That is a difficult question to answer since I would have to choose between the emotions of people. That’s quite a challenge… But if I really have to choose, I would go for my run with Akinori Kusada.
Akinori is a 70-year-old Japanese runner. In 2006, Akinori ran 52 marathons in a row. I broke this record in 2010. In June, Akinori joined us in Ghent for a wonderful Japanese-Belgian weekend.
At the end of a great weekend of fun, sports and friendship, Akinori and I ran a marathon on Sunday. That was an emotional experience for me, and it received quite some media coverage as well.
I experienced life as it is, with its goods and its bads.
Did you experience any difficult moments in the past 8 months?
Yes, I did. I experienced life as it is, with its goods and its bads. The five first months of the project were very cold. Our runners had to endure icy cold temperatures and rain quite often. Fortunately, this was compensated by a warm summer.
I will also not forget the theft of my trailer with equipment. The most dramatic experience however was the sudden death of my graphic designer. She was murdered in May. Four days before her death she ran a half marathon with us. I still can’t understand what happened.
What are you most proud of?
I am particularly proud that we were able to make this project a great success. In August 2012, ‘Be A Hero For One Day’ was just an idea. Now, one year later, ‘Be A Hero For One Day’ is well known in Ghent and beyond. We can also count on regular media coverage.
And as I said earlier, thanks to this project I have met many new people. This has enabled me to prove myself as a personal coach who can help people push their boundaries. I really like doing this.
Everything starts with a strong belief in your own abilities.
You briefly mentioned that you have plans for future projects already. Can you tell us about your plans for the future?
In September I will present ‘My Challenge 2014’ to the public. In May 2014 I will run across Belgium. I will run 100 kilometres for 31 days in a row. With this challenge I want to show that great achievements start with a strong belief in your own abilities.
In 2014 we will also organize 30 challenges in which everyone can participate. There will be something for everyone. For example, you can run 10 kilometres, 10 miles or an ultra run with us. But you can also join our cycling, climbing and swimming challenges.
‘My Challenge 2014’ will focus on the combination of sports, traveling and coaching. We will run a.o. in Belgium, Dubai, New York and Patagonia, we will cycle in Belgium and in Italy, we will climb the Mont Blanc and we will swim from Damme to Bruges. Everyone can register so keep an eye on mychallenge14.be!
On 14 September Pauwels Consulting will run another relay marathon. That’s our sixth relay marathon this year. Why should people join us for a run next Saturday?
September is a beautiful month for running: it is not too hot and it not too cold. It is perhaps the best month to dust off your running shoes. And of course it is still a unique and nice project. It is always a great feeling to run a marathon with a team, as you can see from the video impression of the Pauwels Consulting ekiden in February below.
Don’t hesitate and join us next Saturday! You can sign up for free by filling out the following form:
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Questions or suggestions?
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Do you want to meet Marathon Man and/or do you want to learn more about his new project ‘My Challenge 2014’? Go to mychallenge14.be or visit Stefaan at the Watersportbaan in Ghent (Zuiderlaan 14, next to the Bloso center).
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