Wesley Danckaerts

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We are Isabel Group: Iron People working at Isabel Group – Jan Rubbrecht.

Suddenly we heard ‘Jan Rubbrecht from Belgium’ … surprised, I leave my ice cream and I am told that I get a slot for the Iron Man World Championships in Nice.

Jan Rubbrecht is our IT Change Coordinator at Isabel Group and has worked at Isabel for 6 years.  We often see him coming to the office on his race bicycle, coming from Aalst. And now, we know it was all part of a plan!

As an amateur athlete, Jan dreamed of one day being able to do a full Iron Man triathlon (3,8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and a full 42,2km marathon): an incredible once in a lifetime experience. 

The plan

Jan chose to participate in the nice and challenging Ironman Kärnten-Klagenfürt in Carinthia (Austria) on June 18th, 2023.

This meant 10 months of training + following all kinds of weekly schedules (read: 15 to 20 hours training per week) and some ‘abstinence’ from amongst others parties and other entertainment. 


Relive Jan’s experience in his own words


The execution

D-Day starts early, VERY EARLY: my alarm clock goes off at 3.15 AM.  The prerace routine consists of breakfast, getting to the event site, place your bike and run equipment in the transition zone, a small sanitary pit stop, put on the swimsuit and go for a warm-up swim in the Wörthersee where the swimming part will take place. I had a chat with Average Rob (a well-known YouTuber in Flanders) who also was going to participate.  Finally, at 7 AM it was time for to get ready, get set and go!

Swimming, Cycling and Running

The swimming part went smoothly. I got smooth out of the water and it was a nice surprise seeing quite some friends who were there to support me. The consecutive Bike race went well, not the easiest one because the course was undulating but the beautiful scenery in Klagenfürt compensated for that.

jan im klagenfürt cycling 1.png

jan im klagenfürt running 1.png

With the slightly tougher moments during the run, I think of my many ‘fans and followers’ … Keep moving Jan, mindset check ok.

Running takes some time for the muscles to get used to it, but more importantly I really needed to focus in this warm weather (+/- 30°C): eating and drinking timely was the message.

Self-motivation was key: with the slightly tougher moments during the run, I think of my many fans and followers … “Keep moving Jan, mindset check ok”. 

And then, after more than 11 hours, finally the reward: all the training, the sacrifices, the focus, it all culminated in the moment with the magic words saying: “Well done JAN, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

jan im klagenfürt finish 2.png

The end of a unique adventure … or is it?

An unexpected surprise

My wife and I decided to go to the final Iron Man event, the day after.  We have some vouchers to eat and drink something there. We had an ice cream for dessert and I tell my wife that after this we are leaving because we had seen pretty much everything we needed to see.

There is still a podium ceremony going on and they are calling off the names that are entitled to a World Championship Iron Man slot. I say to my wife while laughing: “When they call your name here it means you did very very well”.

We are halfway through our ice cream and suddenly we heard ‘Jan Rubbrecht from Belgium’ … surprised, I leave my ice cream and I am told that I get a slot for the Iron Man World Championship in Nice (Men’s VinFast IRONMAN World Championship Nice, France).

After a brief discussion with my wife, we decided to accept this next adventure because you must decide immediately otherwise your World Cup slot will be passed on to the next one.

This ‘once in a lifetime’ gets a sequel. Anything is possible!

Working at Isabel = Room for personal goals

For me, working at Isabel is fun and fascinating. I enjoy working day after day with people who work together as a real team to provide the best service to our customers. During corona, working from home became a challenge for each of us with its advantages and disadvantages.

Isabel is a fun environment to work in where ‘keep moving’ and ‘anything is possible’ are not empty words or slogans

Personally, my regular training trips to work fell by the wayside because of this. This was also the time to take some time to reflect on how I could further indulge in sports in this way of working.

The flexibility of working from home and/or the office allowed me to find a healthier work-life balance. In addition, I had already made my sporting dreams known to some colleagues and team managers from whom I also received full support and encouragement.

As far as I am concerned, Isabel is a fun environment to work in where ‘keep moving’ and ‘anything is possible’ are not empty words or slogans.

Next rendez-vous: Nice

We thank Jan for sharing his experience and moreover we will be cheering for him again in September!


Want to become part of one of our star teams?

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