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A True Inspiration, Your Keynote Speaker – Marc Herremans

The word ‘inspiration’ doesn’t really do Marc Herremans justice. The determination Marc has shown in his life and the adversity he has overcome is awe-inspiring. And, we’re delighted to have Marc opening the EphMRA 2020 Conference to share his story as our keynote speaker.

Marc will talk to us about his life, setbacks and achievements – and how he found the strength and courage to keep fighting, regardless of what was thrown at him.

In the Beginning

Marc was always a determined character, even from an early age. His career saw him joining the army, becoming a Para Commando and joining the volunteer fire corps. However, it wasn’t until he watched TV coverage of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon that he found his calling.


Setting his goal to become World Ironman Champion, Marc starting training and competing in triathlons. He became Belgian champion twice, came 8th in the World Championship and in 2001 he was 6th in the Ironman challenge.


However, during a training camp in Lanzarote in 2002, Marc fell heavily during a descent and was diagnosed as being paralysed from the chest down. He was told he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Many people would have been broken by that diagnosis and massive change in circumstances, but Marc quickly realised he was lucky to be alive and was determined he would not waste the second chance he had been given.

Fighting Back

We’re not going to spoil Marc’s presentation by giving away too much … but needless to say, he’s fought back and made some incredible achievements, including:

  • Founding the To Walk Again Foundation
  • Being knighted by the King of Belgium
  • Winning Sports Personality of the Year
  • Becoming the 2006 Ironman World Champion
  • Founding the 185 Coaching Centre
  • Becoming Race Director for Wings for Life World Run
  • Becoming a father to three beautiful children.


Believe in Your Dreams

Marc’s story shows that every setback in life could, and should, be an opportunity to fight back. He believes that extremely negative changes in life actually provide opportunities to find new ways to achieve your goals – and whatever happens we must always believe in our dreams.

What a way to open our Conference!


If you’d like to be there to hear Marc’s keynote speech, you can register for your place now. EphMRA Annual Conference 2020, 23-25 June, Antwerp.

About the author



Creating excellence in professional standards and practices to enable healthcare market researchers to become highly valued business partners.

Supporting our members and guiding them across the ethics landscape

Preparing the ATC Guidelines and managing new entries, changes and improvements in consultation with pharmaceutical companies

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EphMRA 2021 - Antwerp - June 15 -17

Our 2021 conference will be an exciting, inspiring and engaging online event and will take place the week of 14th June, with the key dates being 15-17 June.

The latest submissions are in the final stages of evaluation and the programme will soon be ready to publish. We have some outstanding speakers this year for our online event.