Name: Martijn Visscher
Date of birth: 17-02-1975
Work: Tax authority functionary, and…national speaker for Dutch Athletics (Atletiekunie)
Weight: 90 Kg (198 lbs)
Length: 1.87 m (6,14 ft)
Favourite discipline: 400m hurdles and the icosathlon (2002-2005)
Hobbies: Athletics, birdwatching and my family
Favourite food: Italian
- How did you get in contact with the world of Ultra-Multievents?
In 2002 I became the idea to organise the first double decathlon ever in the Netherlands. I read about it on the internet: in 1983 there was a first Dutch competitor but he didn’t finish. It started as a great dream in Delft and we succeeded: within a few months I contacted Risto Karasmaa, the founder of the double decathlon. Together with his advice we formed an organisation committee and we went for it! With 24 competitors and the first 22 mostly finishers! Former Spartaan-decathlete Rick Wassenaar became the first national record holder with 11.809 points.
- Was there any media attention during this première?
A lot! As an example: a journalist from The Volkskrant (a national newspaper) was with us the whole weekend. After the weekend (he was amazed the whole two days) he published a full page with nice photographs in the sportsedition. Also the regional radiostation, and also the local newspapers had the unique stories from the competitors. It’s nice to read those again, you can still find some of them on the internet.
- You were organizer but also competitor at the first edition?
Yes indeed, not an ideal combination. I remember giving an interview just before starting the 18th event, the 1500m. And all the instructions for the headreferee, the athletes…it was an exhausting weekend with a total score of 9300 points.
- What do you think of the future of the Double Decathlon? Will it grow more and more or will it stay at this level?
I think it will definitely grow more, with more and more countries joining in the competition. The International Organisation of Ultra-Multievents maybe has to contact the IAAF to make it a real international, official and well-known event. The double decathlon (or icosathlon) is the real survival of the fittest, it should be the dream of every athlete! It creates the real heroes!
- What are your own most beautiful sport moments?
My best moments are the weekends were I combined the decathlon with a night out at the city, surrounded by fellow competitors. We had a lot of fun! But also the bronze medal at the National Junior Championships in 1994 (400mh) and participating in some international meetings. The several European and World Championships in the icosathlon in 2003 (Sankt Pölten), 2004 (Gateshead) and 2005 (Vienna) are competitions I’ll never forget.
- Your personal best on the icosathlon is 10.048 points, back in 2003. Will you ever compete again in the Double Decathlon?
This year I reached the age of 36 and five months ago I became father of a beautiful daughter called Ellemijn. Together with all the preparations as a stadiumspeaker at national trackmeetings there isn’t much time left to practise more than one or two evenings a week. But give me a couple of years and maybe I’ll be back, it’s so much fun!
- What sort of advice can you give to the debutants in the double hepathlon and double decathlon?
The whole weekend you have to live from event to event, never look too much to the end of the day. Don’t forget to eat&drink in between (cold pasta’s, banana’s, sportsdrinks, water or everything you are used to during normal sportsactivity). After the 10K on sundaynight you go automatically to the nearest foodcorner, it’s all you need at that time!
- What is the last thing you want to say to all the readers of this interview?
Good luck this weekend and congratulations to the Lisse track and fieldclub De Spartaan, with their 50 year anniversary! We’ll meet eachother on the track!