Things about me
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
Name: Els Visser
Date of Birth: 03-04-1990
Birthplace: Haren, The Netherlands
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 54 kg
Medicine, Univeristy Utrecht
PhD Surgery, University Utrecht
Current position: Lifestyle doctor at Open Up Medical
Coach: Brett Sutton
Manager: Iris Bosch
My triathlon story is a unique one. A PhD in surgery and a shipwreck survivor in Indonesia. My road to professional triathlon is extraordinary. As a proud Dutchie I enjoyed various sports growing up until I turned my full attention to studying medicine in 2008. Studying was always my main priority, I was an ambitious student and wanted to achieve good results. Besides, I made sure that I had a good student time. I joined the oldest female students sorority ‘de Utrechtse Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging, UVSV’, lived in a sorority house, and was chairperson of the sorority during one year (2011-2012). During this time I made my closest friends, developed my personal and my leadership skills, and it brought me a big network.
My studies allowed me to travel the world but it also changed my life profoundly. In 2014, while traveling in Indonesia, a boat I had taken with 24 other passengers sank in the middle of the night. Clinging for life in the wreckage, I swam 8 hours to a nearby island where I was finally rescued by a passing boat the next day. My harrowing experience prompted me to live my life to the fullest and follow my dreams.
I wanted to be an Ironman. I did my first triathlon in 2016 and first Ironman in Switzerland in 2017. With an open mind, a “never look back” attitude, and untapped potential, I officially entered the pro triathlon ranks in 2017. A year later, I won my first title and became an Ironman Champion in my home country. In 2019, I made my debut in Kona and finished with a 16th place in the professional field. Only 3 years after my first ever race. Over the last couple of years I developed myself to a favorite in the sport. Nowadays, I am a multiple Ironman Champion and I’ve climbed the podium in most of my races! It’s my mission to also finish on the podium in Kona!
Next to my goals in triathlon, I have a medical mission. I am a doctor and have a PhD in Surgery. After finishing my PhD, I’ve chosen a different direction. Being an athlete and doctor, I see it as the ultimate challenge to promote active and healthy lifestyles. Instead of treating the individual patient in the hospital, focus on the society, and try to prevent people going into the hospitals. It’s a shared mission with Open Up (https://openupmedical.com), the company I started proudly working with in 2022. Together we educate and motivate people to stay vital. In my opinion staying vital is an essential ingredient for happiness.
“Also I try to inspire people with my story to live their life to the fullest and never hold back by giving inspirational talks”