First of all, Maarten is 6 feet, 8 inches tall. YES. SIX FEET EIGHT. I feel like we could almost stop right there. But we won't. This gentle giant was born in the Netherlands, and was a very successful swimmer there in his youth, but then was diagnosed with leukemia with a grim prognosis. He battled for his life for several years through chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, and after winning it back, he started training again. Over the next 5 years, Maarten became a world champion and a gold medalist in open water marathon swimming. Again, feel like we could stop right there? Not this guy. He then wrote a biography while balancing a finance career, then switched to motivational speaking and started organizing swims to benefit cancer research, one of which was 24 hours of nonstop swimming. How about we stop there? NOPE. Not done yet!
These days, Maarten is planning on a wild and crazy event for swimming enthusiasts in the Netherlands. He is planning a benefit swim of 3 days of nonstop swimming for a total of 200 kilometers. TWO HUNDRED KILOMETERS. In this interview above, he says things like, "it's not about me showing that I can swim for three days, but for me to engage in as much swimming as I possibly can." He wants as many swimmers as possible to be able to join him for 500 meters or whatever they are able to do, in order to raise as much money as possible for cancer research. This guy is for real.
The greatest thing that he says in this interview is that when he beat cancer, he vowed to live each day as if it was his last. Then he said he actually DID that for three days and became incredibly BORED. He found that setting and achieving goals was what made his life feel meaningful to him, not living day to day.
More power to you, Maarten! Keep not stopping for as long as you live! We are proud of what you have accomplished and will continue to do!