Member of the Month: Marcus Cortvriendt

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By Jason Bove.

Our next feature is on someone who has been a recognizable face around the Pipeworks facility for many years now. You may have seen him climbing and working out at night, or during the day, or BOTH! Whenever it was, he is easily remembered for being the nice guy who may have held the door for you. Perhaps he is the dude who made you smile with his down-to-earth personality and jokes that were actually funny. Regardless, he is here in the gym, and you should tell him “hello.” As a special bonus, congratulate him on being our next Member of the Month!!

First things first. Your last name is quite interesting, as far as phonetics go. From where does it originate, and how is it properly pronounced?

Phonetically, it’s pronounced Cort-vrent. It’s Flemish, which is a Dutch language spoken in Flanders, a region in Belgium.

Please describe for us what a normal day in the life of Marcus Cortvriendt looks like.

A normal day in my life has been pretty much devoted to nursing school, my son, my girlfriend, and climbing. I graduated nursing school in December, though, so now most of my time during the day will be spent searching hospital job listings to find a job as a new RN.

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As you know, daytime hours here at Pipeworks have a tendency to be slower than at night. How do you like to spend your time at the gym during these quieter times?

I used to be one of the regulars at night before my schedule changed. Evenings are much more crowded, and thus more interactive with other climbers. Sharing beta and working through problems with friends was one of the things that drew me to climbing. Now that I climb mostly during the day, I can get through all of the activities I like to do a lot quicker. The downsides about going during the day is that I find I’m less social while here, and I probably don’t push myself to climb as hard. The upside is that I can get a solid climbing session in followed by weights and the sauna in a couple hours, which is nice.

Having several great conversations about music with you, what artists are we most likely to find on your current playlists? Why?

Taking a quick look at my Recently Played list, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen have been played pretty frequently lately. Both of their voices are dark and rich, and so full of soul. Their lyrics are really layered and nuanced in a way that evokes tons of emotion too. When I lift weights, I listen to Metallica, late 90’s rap, or gypsy punk—anything with a good energy level. My top album of all time is Graceland by Paul Simon, and one of my top artists is The Rolling Stones. If I’m going to sit back with a drink and enjoy music, I’ll definitely be listening to the blues or jazz.

You are such a great asset to our community, here within our Touchstone center of the universe. How would you say that you maintain your kind demeanor and general niceness from day to day, in an often stressful society?

With all honesty, I think the Pipeworks community has brought out the best in me. When I had more time I would do a lot of yoga and some of the quotes the instructor, Susan, would share at the end were really enlightening and made me want to bring a little goodness into the world. Even small gestures like holding the door or smiling can make a huge difference in someone’s day. I guess I just try to do the best I can every day to bring a little bit of goodness to people around me.

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Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is just showing up.” What continues to inspire you to make it into the gym as frequently as you do?

Mental health. I need a positive place to focus my energy, and that’s what the gym does for me. Working on boulder problems, trying different lifting routines, and playing with nutrition is really important to my mental health. It’s all kind of a game to me, something I like to experiment with and see tangible results. There are also a lot of members here that have taught me a ton, or given me great ideas to tweak whatever I’m doing at the time. It keeps me engaged.

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If you could take three hours of every day to spend however you wish, where would you choose to be, and what would you be doing with your time?

I can’t think of just one thing. I’d love to spend that time working out in some way or another. Cycling, climbing, yoga, hiking. I’d also love to have that amount of time every day to read quietly with no interruptions.

Having a young child, what is the most important lesson you have learned by being a parent?

Learning how to accommodate and be understanding. It’s easy to go into being a dad with these ideas of how everything is going to be. In all reality, you’re raising a little human that has feelings, and thoughts, and ideas. Keeping that in mind I feel is really important. We all have different wants and needs, so I try to be mindful of that as a person, with not just him, but everyone. It’s a work in progress.

Can you tell us something that we may have never guessed about you?

Even though I’ve been climbing for years and years, I still don’t have my lead card or feel super confident with it. Does anyone wanna show me??

If you were a Pipeworks dog in your next life, what breed would you hope to be?

St. Bernard with a keg of brandy around my neck.