For the Ironman World Championship last year, Dr Dan Plews was doing his research online for a ‘cool’ race suit for hot conditions.
“I found out about PURPOSE because I was looking for a suit for Kona. I love the suit because it’s comfortable and most of all, cool. It dissipates the heat really well and keeping cool during hot endurance races is really important,” the 36-year-old British-born New Zealand-based father of one said.
Dr Plews impressively finished as the top age-grouper with a course record of 8:24:36 and we are so proud to be part of this victory.
His dad was a keen triathlete so it rubbed off on him and at the age of nine, Dr Plews did his first swim. He became the British Youth and Junior Triathlon Champion, British Grand Prix Champion and also medalled in the British Elite Men’s Sprint Championships.
He relocated to New Zealand after, completing a sports science degree in Auckland University. From there, he earned a scholarship at the Leeds Performance Centre, where brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were juniors at that time. Dr Plews took a masters degree in sports science there, as well as became an assistant coach.
For the years to follow, Dr Plews focused on his career. He only did his first ever Ironman race in New Zealand in 2013 (9:22:22) and he qualified for the Ironman World Championship but he didn’t take the slot.
The next time he qualified – he was the fastest age grouper in the 2015 Ironman New Zealand (9:08:24) – he went to Kona and came in 6th in his 30-34 age group at the 2015 Ironman World Championship with a time of 9:12:00.
That was when he decided to give this sport “a good crack” as he felt that he could win.
At the 2017 Ironman New Zealand, Dr Plews went under nine hours with a time of 8:54:10 and in 2018, he bettered that time at the same race to 8:35:02. Then it was on to the 2018 Ironman World Championship where he triumphed as the top age grouper.
And in case you are wondering, no, Dr Plews is not a full-time athlete. Far from it in fact! He is an applied sports scientist with a PhD in exercise physiology. His PhD was in applied heart rate variability (HRV), focusing on implementing and validating methods regarding the application of HRV to track training adaptation in elite athletes. To date, he has over 21 peer-reviewed publications in applied sports science.
Now he is a post-graduate PhD, MSc supervisor for AUT University, and contracted to Performance Lab which works in the area of AI coaching. He also has his own startup EndureIQ and he coaches top Ironman professional athletes like Terenzo Bozzone, Jan Van Berkel and Tim Van Berkel.
He was formerly the head physiologist for New Zealand’s rowing team and currently he is the head physiologist for New Zealand’s women canoe racing team. These teams have medalled at the Olympic Games.
It is amazing how he balanced all of those commitment and responsibilities, with Ironman training and his duties as a husband and father. Being on the cutting edge of applied sports science probably does give him an advantage, as he explore the depths of new science and trying out firsthand the effects these have on training adaptation.
From someone who has so much knowledge and expertise, we are very honoured that Dr Plews chose PURPOSE for the race in Kona last year. We pride ourselves on making suits that are meant to battle the heat and humidity!