Max Poplawski Athlete Ambassador
Max has his sights set on qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and is working hard to achieve his goals. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
I've been competing in some sport or another since I was around 6. Growing up, it was swimming and rugby, then at university it was water polo and climbing, and now it's endurance sport and triathlon.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I was always a swimmer, but when I was climbing I started running as cross-training. Then I started cycling as cross-training for running. Then one day I thought "Huh, this is basically triathlon training" and decided to enter a race and that was that.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I raced the Marlow Fugitive Olympic triathlon as my comeback race after two weeks of pure triathlon training and finished 6th. I was on an old road bike with badly clipped-on aero bars, and hadn't swum in open water in years. It was a great race because there were no expectations beforehand and the only thing I needed to do was race hard and have fun.
And your proudest achievement?
Coming 11th in a 50-mile trail race.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I have had a few! Some more funny than others. The funniest being when I was about 8 or 9, I was at a school swimming gala and my trunks came down after I dived in! Safe to say I stayed underwater for a while to try and fix that one.
The toughest: I think the 50-mile ultra marathon was one of the mentally harder races I have done. It was 9.5 hours of running with a lot of being by myself. There is only so much prep you can do for that kind of isolation.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I acknowledge that it is one first. Then I see if it is something I could have prevented (and therefore learn from while coming back). If it wasn’t anything I could have prevented, I think “we all get dealt cards in life” and this rings true.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to training. Do not focus on what everyone else is doing. Their body isn't yours.
What are your goals for 2020?
My goal is to podium at Nationals at the Olympic distance and try to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Ironman 70.3 Gdynia.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
This is a hard one to answer. I take a lot of inspiration from a group of endurance athletes who also suffer from the same arthritic condition as myself. It was a huge source of motivation when I was first diagnosed to see people achieve amazing things with their bodies regardless of the issues faced.
Outside of that group; Michael Phelps, Lionel Sanders, and Courtney Dauwalter.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I like the charity work and values that Sundried stands by, in particular, the idea of the Eco range of products made from recycled plastic.
My favourite piece of kit is probably the Peleton Padded Shorts - I spend a lot of time on the turbo trainer!