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  • February 15, 2024

Koen Naert: A Marathon Runner’s Healing Journey with Flamigel®

In the scope of marathon running, few stories are as fascinating as that of Koen Naert, a Belgian athlete who seamlessly blends the worlds of professional running and nursing. This article breaks down Koen's extraordinary journey, highlighting his evolution from a spirited young runner to an experienced marathon professional with a unique background in healthcare

Koen recounts his early passion for running, painting a vivid picture of his progression from a young enthusiast to an experienced marathon runner. The unexpected twist of working as a nurse at the burns centre while entering the marathon world is unveiled, showcasing the support that propelled him towards a professional athletic career. "First, I was a runner because I started running when I was six years old. I evolved from a five to ten-kilometer runner, to a cross-country runner to a marathon runner,” said Koen.

Flamigel®: A Familial Connection and Professional Integration:

Koen shares his first encounters with Flamigel®, drawing parallels between familial habits and the reliability of this wound care product. The integration of Flamigel® into his professional healthcare career becomes evident, underscoring its familiarity and importance in Belgium's medicine. “Flamigel® is a very familiar product in Belgium and everyone has it in the medicine closet."

Balancing Nursing and High-Level Sports:

When asked about his partnership with Flamigel®, he had the following to say, “In life, I have three passions: my family, marathon running or just running, and healthcare. And as an athlete and healthcare ambassador, I want to tell a story. I want to be able to inspire and motivate people, not only in running but also in healthcare. I realized I could do that together with Flamigel®.” He added, “This partnership allows me to do some nice storytelling and to be very authentic...I want people to know that behind the professional runner, I am a healthcare professional."

Koen reflects on the uniqueness of combining nursing and high-level sports. The intense study period, combining a bachelor's degree with a professional athletic career, shapes his resilient mindset. His experiences in healthcare, particularly in a burn care centre, become a source of mental strength during challenging training moments. “I take with me on difficult days the resilience of those patients who fought for their healing," he said. 

Contributing to Public:

Concerning his recent experience in Kenya, Koen shares how impactful this experience has been, emphasizing his gratitude for the hospitality. His vision of contributing to public health in Kenya through education and wound care projects is shown, showcasing his dedication to making a lasting impact. "I hope in the future we can do something bigger and meaningful to help the people in Kenya - that would be my big goal and a big dream." 

Life Philosophy and Balance:

The insights gained from the burn care centre guide his approach to training, promoting a balance between determined boundaries and respecting individual pain thresholds. According to him, "Don't be afraid to dig deep, but always be careful and listen to your body. I think that is something I learned from wound care."

But how does he balance his passion for running and healthcare? Koen shares his philosophy on life balance, prioritizing family, marathon running, and healthcare. His commitment to continuous learning, pursuing postgraduate studies, and maintaining a balance between athletic pursuits and nursing studies is unmistakable. "Balance in life is very important. I want to stay updated so that when my marathon career ends, I am ready to enter the working field as a healthcare professional again."

Advocacy for Proper Wound Care:

Koen underscores the necessity of proper wound care, expressing concern that even healthcare professionals may lack essential knowledge. As an ambassador, he aims to provide accurate information and raise awareness about the fundamentals of wound care.

In conclusion, Koen Naert's journey is a testament to the fusion of passion, resilience, and a commitment to make a positive impact in both the marathon world and healthcare. As he continues to inspire and educate, his unique story serves as an example for aspiring athletes and healthcare enthusiasts alike, highlighting the extraordinary possibilities that unfold when two worlds seamlessly collide.