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Runners’ lab and triathlete Jelle Geens are now joining forces. Jelle will be able to count on our support throughout his #roadtoParis. CEO Koen Wilssens therefore believes enormously in the 28-year-old athlete’s abilities.

Potential shown toward Paris

Jelle Geens dared to aim for an Olympic medal in triathlon last summer. A positive corona test just before departure obstructed his individual participation. Fortunately, the virus was out of his body just in time to participate in the mixed relay with the Belgian Hammers. Thanks to a strong collective performance, Jelle can look back on a nice fifth place, although it does not take away the disappointment of the missed individual opportunity.

“The Olympics were a disaster for me. I really felt that I could compete for medals. But I didn’t even get the chance to try, unfortunately. So not the dream scenario, not even towards sponsorship. Fortunately, I was able to prove myself in the following months by winning the first heat of the World Triathlon Championship series. With that I showed the outside world that I am still there.”

Support from Runners’ lab

Koen Wilssens, former athlete and CEO of Runners’ lab, had long been convinced of Jelle’s potential. He contacted the triathlete in September for a run together.

“At Runners’ lab, we had long had plans to do something with triathlon,” Koen told us. “With Jelle we now have a great ambassador within this sport. In terms of personality, he matches perfectly with the image we want to project within our team and stores. In addition, of course, he is also a strong athlete. I saw him as a medal candidate in Tokyo. It’s really unfortunate that he couldn’t participate there individually. That’s why I think it’s important to support him towards Paris. If he stays on level, I can definitely see him competing there for the honorary metal.”

“I believe there are issues in which we can help Jelle with all our expertise. Think of shoe advice, shoe adjustments, but also a full measurement in the Prolab, DEXA scan…. It may be small stones, but I hope we can contribute to his success that way. We supported double Olympic champion Alistair Brownleefor many years in the past, including his orthotics. It’s nice to be able to continue building on that triathlon story now,” Koen said.

Fastest running shoes and marginal gains

Jelle, who lives in the same village as Koen and, he says, still sometimes exert himself on the Strava segments Koen has on his name, was quickly enthusiastic about the collaboration.

“I already knew Runners’ Lab, of course. I also did not yet have a regular sponsor for running supplies, so I was quickly convinced of Koen’s proposal. With the whole shoe revolution, it is a great advantage not to be stuck with a particular brand. Of course, we all want to run with the fastest shoes and now we can just do that. That made this deal extra interesting.”

“Out of the three disciplines in triathlon, running is most likely to cause injury. It is very nice that I can also call on the Prolab at Runners’ lab. I have been spared from major injuries in recent years, but when you train 28 to 30 hours a week, it is always a bit of a balancing act between training enough and not getting injured. Even if they are only minor areas of improvement, those marginal gains can sometimes be a big advantage.”

New goals

The “What if I could have started in Tokyo?” still plays through the sympathetic Limburger’s mind from time to time, of course, but in the meantime he is looking mostly to the future. Paris remains the big goal, although Jelle also knows what he wants for the next two years.

“Disappointing races or setbacks often act as oil on the fire for me. I have a strong urge to prove myself, which I then manage to turn into motivation. In the next two years I really want to compete for the world title. Our world championship consists of several rounds. The past few years I have won more than one of those heats, but due to circumstances I have never been able to compete in a full season. Hopefully that will change now. The most important thing is still Paris. In Rio I was still a little too young, by the Games in LA I will probably focus on the longer work, but in Paris I will be 31 and I think that is the ideal age. The Games in 2024 will be the chance for Olympic honors.”

Wise advice for a sporty year

Finally, Jelle wants to encourage you to enjoy sports more this year. He also has good advice when things get tough on the sports front.

“Our country has so much beautiful nature to explore while exercising, just think of the beautiful running trails that Runners’ lab recently promoted. Sports take you to so many wonderful places you would never get to otherwise. Besides, I am convinced that exercising makes you more efficient in the things you do. Your head is cleared and you can start your work day with a fresh mind.”

“Of course, you don’t always have to go to the limit, but sometimes it’s nice to go hard, so you can be proud afterwards because you managed to do it. That’s what makes sport so beautiful. Also, be sure to remember that there is more to life than sports. When you are injured, you have more time to enjoy other things. Give yourself time to recover, rebuild and get even better than before.”

Want to closely follow Jelle’s road to the Paris Olympics? Follow him on his Instagram or Facebook page.