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It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.



Marc was born on the 19th of December 1973. He spent his youth playing football, and playing outside; he didn't like school at all.

When Marc turned 16 he saw the film Rocky. It inspired him "to be the best boxer in the world" and he put this wish on his bucket list. To fulfil his dream he locked himself in his attic to get strong enough to become the world boxing champion.



When Marc turned 18 he left school to join the army and become a Para Commando. In his time as a para commando he realized that he enjoyed the training but he didn’t like boxing itself. But Marc never stopped training; he started to work as a joiner and he joined the volunteer fire corps.



One day he saw a program on National Geographic about the Ironman triathlon of Hawaii. It was an exhaustive Triathlon of 2.4 miles swimming through open water, 112 miles biking through the lava fields, and last but not least running a marathon in the Hawaii heat. This was the sport Marc was going to be best at. Finally after all these years training to become the best boxer, he had found his mission in life.

Marc started training and participating in triathlons – and not without success. He became the Belgian champion twice and came 8th in a world championship.

At the age of 27 he could finally compete in the mythical triathlon of Hawaii, the official world championship of the IRONMAN. As the youngest competitor in the professional athletes group Marc achieved 6th place, and he could have been higher if he hadn’t deliberately held himself back in his best section, biking.

2001 IRONMAN was a try out for Marc and his superb first IRONMAN result of 6th place was not bad at all!! 2002 was the year he was going to win the title "World Champion IRONMAN".



In 2002 Marc was attending a training camp on Lanzarote to prepare himself for the world championship IRONMAN 2002 competition. On the 8th day he fell heavily during a descent. For the following three days Marc was hospitalized in three different countries and three different doctors gave him the same diagnosis, paraplegia; resulting in paralysis from the chest down. The most promising professional triathlete would not become a world champion IRONMAN, but was sentenced to spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. As a former para commando, joiner, volunteer firefighter, and professional triathlete, life seemed to have no purpose anymore. Those depressing thoughts lasted only one day after the operation because Marc’s nephew came to see him. He jumped on his bed hugged him and said “Uncle Marc I’m so glad you’re back”. In that moment, and with those words Marc realized that he was lucky to be alive. Unlike a lot of other people he had been given a second chance, a second chance he could not ignore.


World Champion

That evening after the visit, Marc looked at his bucket list which he had made before his accident: winning the IRONMAN of Hawaii, driving the Crocodile Trophy, and becoming a father. He decided to fulfil his bucket list with help from his friends and family. Marc started training harder than ever before, reassessing his progress every day, and founded the “To Walk Again Foundation”. He was knighted by the king for his positive attitude, his dedication, his commitment to others, and he received the prize for sports personality of the year in Belgium. After 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd places, Marc’s biggest dream that he had been working very hard for since he was 16 came true. Marc succeeded, despite his complete paralysis from the chest downwards, to be the 2006 World champion IRONMAN.


To Walk Again

In the meantime Marc’s "To Walk Again Foundation" gained a reputation as a leading and respectable charity. The foundation offers people sport and constant reassessment to keep them healthy in the short term and prepare them for the long term should there ever be a medical solution for paraplegia.



Marc decided to compete in the toughest Mountain bike race on earth. Never before had a wheelchair athlete competed in this race, the course stretching 1400 km in 10 days across the Australian outback. After 10 stages Marc finished this very hard race as the first ever wheelchair athlete, again showing that with the right mindset and a strong team the impossible can be possible.


Athlete Coaching

In 2008 Marc began coaching athletes in cycling, triathlon’s, mountain-biking, motor cross, bmx, etc etc. After a few years Marc was nominated with 10 others for the coach of the year award in Belgium. In 2012 he founded, together with his partner and brother in law, the 185 Coaching Centre, a centre where people are guided to achieve personal sporting goals.



In 2013 Marc's most precious item on the bucket list became reality with the birth of his daughter Anne-Lou. Just 12 years after Marc became paralyzed, he had fulfilled all his goals.


World Run

In 2016, Colin Jackson and Marc became race directors of the Wings for Life World Run. This is the world's biggest running event to raise money for spinal chord injury research.


3 beautiful kids

Presently Marc is one of the most requested international motivational speakers in the world, team-leader of a professional cyclocross team, the man behind To Walk Again, event planner, team manager of an omnium team, athlete trainer, and CEO of 185 Coaching. Due to the help and support of friends and family Marc turned the impossible into the possible. Marc saw that every setback in life is a chance to fight back and not a reason to give up, and that teamwork in an individual sport is crucial to success. Also, he learnt that extremely negative changes in life still give opportunities to find new ways to achieve your goals. Life itself, and to be able to fight for your goals, is an absolute must. Life is the most precious gift, and that whatever happens we must always believe in our dreams and goals.


Royal lecture

After lectures in China, USA, Iceland and 30 other countries, it was truly an honour for Marc to give a motivational lecture for the Royal Family in the Castle of Laken.


Athletes for Hope

13 young athletes, divided over 4 different sports disciplines, will go to any lengths to achieve good results. Partners of the team will reward their athletic performances through a special bonus system that will be used to buy a walking robot for kids with spinal cord injuries or muscle diseases.

We started coaching these athletes at an average age of 15 years old: the perfect age to start guiding and shaping young talented people. In combination with the support for kids with disabilities, this project has all the right values. www.athletesforhope.be


World championship

After previously winning national and European championships as a coach, Marc took his first World championship title in 2020.


Rehab meadow

In Covid time Marc took the time to put a dream into reality. Marc started to build a place for disabled kids, a place in nature with therapy horses, surrounded by trees. A place where kids and their families can enjoy freedom and healthiness from nature and lovely animals. The goal is to open the rehab meadow in may 2021.

13 young athletes, divided over 4 different sports disciplines, will go to any lengths to achieve good results. Partners of the team will reward their athletic performances through a special bonus system that will be used to buy a walking robot for kids with spinal cord injuries or muscle diseases.



Rehab meadow

1 September 2021 - Marc and his team start with the working at the "Athletes for Hope" rehab meadow. A lovely peaceful place.

A place where kids can connect with nature and little therapy horses and donkey's. The perfect place to do rehab far away from hospital walls.



20 years...

28 January. Today exactly 20 years ago Marc got paralysed chest down. 20 years in 6th gear ... So happy there was a second chance. From professional high level athlete in 1 second being paralysed chest down was not the end, it was a new beginning.

Love life



At the end of 2022, Marc Herremans launched a new brand of overnight oats shakes. Marc has known the physical and mental benefits of a healthy balanced diet for many years and he wanted to do something with this. He decided to launch X-OATS, an original concept of overnight oats shake. Easy to prep, healthy, vegan, tasty and without additives or refined sugars = all natural baby. In addition, X-OATS is also a climate neutral product that donates part of its profit to invest in eco-friendly projects. Check out www.x-oats.com.



Marc joins forces with children's book author Kim Crabeels and illustrator Dieter de Schutter. Together they publish the picture book Hout (Eng: Wood, Pelckmans, November 2023). Both the illustrations and text are poetic and moving, but also bursting with humour. At the heart of Hout is Marc’s story, in particular the Athletes For Hope project, to which part of the book’s proceeds also go.

Hout tells the story of Boom (Eng: Tree), the largest tree in the forest. All animals admire him immensely – especially his strongest branch. But disaster strikes during a storm: Boom’s crown is bent and one branch is on the ground. Exactly that one. Fortunately, with the help of the entire forest, Boom finds a way to give life meaning again... A hopeful story about caring and redirecting.


Wings for Life

Wings For Life World Run 2024

We all made a big difference. 265.818 people ran, walked or rolled for the good cause. All inscription money goes to the Wings For Life foundation who support research for spinal cord injury. 2 weeks ago in Lausanne I saw some of the amazing results of supporting medical research. Yesterday we all bring 8.1 million euro together, for supporting spinal cord injury research. Thanks to all who are part of this awesome worldwide biggest running event.
Teamwork makes the dream work.