He hails from Belgium, discovered love for endurance racing in the mountains of Taiwan, and more recently has become known as “Triathlon Beast” while working and training in Singapore. We’re inspired by his story of being an ordinary dude who transformed into a badass triathlete and ultra runner. We also love his motto:

Set a Goal so Big that You can’t Achieve it, Until You Grow into the Person Who Can

We had a chance to chat with Mitch a couple of days before he took off to compete in his latest Ironman distance triathlon Challenge Roth. Here is a video of our conversation (see below for time stamp of different topics if you want to jump around).

Our conversation summary:

0:00 — Becoming a Runivore ambassador

1:15 — How it all started – becoming a trail runner in Taiwan

2:00 — HASH and how it helped inspire Mitch

3:20 — Getting talked into joining a first trail race and quickly ramping up to ultras

4:25 — Meeting Taiwan Beast Runners and falling more in love with running in nature

5:00 — Getting talked into joining a triathlon via age-shaming

6:00 — Love at first Triathlon

6:30 — Why he focuses on triathlons these days (hint: Singapore is flat)

7:00 — Mental toughness of Singapore “hill runners”

7:50 — Trails in northern Taiwan

8:45 — Mitch’s motto explained – the Vanhille trait

10:30 — On the loss of younger brother and how it fueled the fire more to dream bigger and achieve more

11:30 — Growing into your dreams in stages

12:20 — Starting to dream big about Triathlons

12:40 — Working with a coach to make the dreams come true

13:30 — Setting the goal to qualify for World Championships 70.3km

14:00 — Training gets real – every minute counts

15:40 — Getting real about going to KONA

16:00 — Attempt #1 at KONA qualifier, bad luck and some mistakes(it’s not supposed to be easy)

17:20 — 5mm seat adjustment and what it can mean during the 180km ride in ironman

18:40 — Ironman lifestyle

19:40 — Formosa Trail as a way to clear your mind (5th in 65km distance)

21:25 — Starting to train hard again for KONA qualifier (IM South Africa) and kicking butt in it.

24:25 — Kicking butt during the marathon portion of the Ironman

25:51 — On owning your mistakes and how that helps you improve in the long run

28:23 — Tips on selecting a coach and knowing yourself and knowing your goals

31:41 — Importance of nutrition

33:00 — Calorie intake during training and during races

33:30 — Dreams outside of triathlon and ultra running world

35:00 — On giving back

36:41 — On coming back to Taiwan and running in Formosa Trail 104

37:40 — Runivore products being part of his core nutrition

Mitch’s Bio:

My journey as an endurance athlete is one about inspiration. It all started when I moved to Taiwan in 2013. I was inspired when I saw elderly & physically disabled people running up mountain and jungle trails. I remember thinking to myself “one day I want to be able to do that”. Those people became close friends and turned my life around. My social and training life became one. I completed my first 17km trail run race at age 34. Within a year, I completed my first 50km ultra-distance race. That same year, I completed my first OD triathlon. I was hooked. Come end 2016, while based in Singapore, I decided to take triathlon to a competitive level under the guidance of COS Coaching. Throughout this journey I have been lucky to be inspired countless times. My aim is to pass it forward: To inspire others as I’ve been inspired – by achieving aggressive personal goals, living a healthy lifestyle and coaching others to believe in, and ultimately, achieve their athletic goals.

And his recent achievements:

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