The Triathlon Coaching Company

Athlete testimonials

Charles Hammon (Duathlon 40-44)

James Beckinsale has helped me to unlock my potential, through his knowledgeable and intelligent approach to training and
technique, and his excellent motivational skills. Before I started training under James 2 years ago, I had reached a plateau. I was getting good results (multiple top 10 places at major championships), but I knew I could achieve more with the right support, and

I had an ambition of winning an international medal. With James’ support, after two seasons of continuous and significant improvements in my performance, I achieved that goal in 2010, winning the bronze medal in my age group at the EuropeanDuathlon Championships, and enjoying the experience of leading the race onto the final run.

Results 40-44 AG:

2011 National Duathlon Champs, 1st

2010 ETU European Duathlon Champs, Nancy, 3rd

2009 ETU European Duathlon Champs, Budapest, 5th

2009 ITU World Duathlon Champs, Concorde, USA, 4th

Gillian Sunders (Elite)

Having raced as a junior elite at World Championship level, I approached James at the end of 2009 (aged 28) after a lengthy lay off from triathlon with view to getting back into things and with the goal of a podium at World Age Group Champs the following year.

I had done triathlon for many years but had never had a triathlon coach. I had relied on individual discipline coaches for my swimming and running and later on had just become self coached due to a pressurised law career.

What initially attracted me to joining James and Optima was the location of all of the sessions in South West London, the group training environment as well as the small, specialised nature of Optima’s set up.

In a very short space of time James took me under his wing and developed me into a vastly improved triathlete. So much better in fact that we decided to by pass the Age Group World Champs goal and head straight onto the ITU elite circuit to compete with all the very best triathletes in the world.

How did he do this/how is he doing this?-

It is difficult to teach ‘an old dog new tricks’ but after some careful analysis James pinpointed the weaknesses and challenges that I would need to overcome in each 3 discipline and how we would put those into practice. Given the small group training environment James was the able to continuously assess me and I was not left to my own devices for things to fall apart. James’s attention to detail and technical expertise sets him way above any equivalent coach in the London region. It can be extremely frustrating trying to change technical aspects of a discipline but James’s tenacity and ever continuous encouragement made it all that easier.

James is energetic and innovative and not afraid to lead from the front and put into practise new methods and skills that he has clearly researched. This cutting edge approach again sets him way above his coaching peers.

James has a structured program where we are able to train as a group and push one another, all whilst under his watchful eye and encouragement. I have found this environment a very productive one to train and improve in. His enthusiasm and love of triathlon is clearly evident in his coaching.

James is also unselfish and reliable and has bent over backwards to help me get to where I am today. James and I continue to work successfully with each other and I look forward to sharing even more personal achievements and successes with him in the years to come.



London League Jekyll & Hyde Duathlon 3rd


G3 races 2nd in Jan & Feb races

SA Champs 7th elite & u21

London League Morden Aquathlon 1st – new course record (8th overall incl men)

ITU European Cup Strathclyde 10th elite women

ITU European Cup Brasschaat 23rd elite women

ITU World Cup Holten 46h elite women

ITU World Cup Tiszyvorous 55th elite women

Windsor Triathlon 10th elite women

ITU World Champs Budapest 7th 25-29 Age group women

ITU European Cup Loutraki 13th elite women

ITU World Cup Tongyeong Korea 26th elite women

London League Jekyll & Hyde Duathlon 1st – new course record


Watch this space…..

Elisabeth Jack

I have used James as a trainer for several years and in that time I have changed from being a relatively unfit person with a bad back who did very little exercise into someone who has run a marathon, several half marathons, completed the 3 Peaks Challenge and trekked to Everest base camp. James has been critical in helping me set these goals and motivating me to achieve them. Once the goals are agreed upon, he puts in place realistic and managable training programmes. He is passionate and knowledgeble about sport and fitness, is professional in his approach and has a great sense of humour!

Tim Bishop (Ironman 40-44)

Until I met James I was a self-coached triathlete with 4 ironman races under my belt, including one trip to Kona in 2005 and one sub-10 hour time (9:55 at Ironman Austria in July 2007).  I was proud of those achievements, but thought I had probably got myself about as fast as I could be at ironman triathlon and therefore wondered whether or not I would continue with it.

Over the past three years with Optima however I have improved significantly every season, taking my best ironman times down first to 9:42 (Switzerland , 2008), then 9:28 (Switzerland, 2009) and then to 9:09 (IM Western Australia, 2010), along the way knocking 4 minutes off my previous best ironman swim time (to 57 minutes), more than 20 minutes off my bike split (to 4 hours 53) and 13 minutes off my ironman run split (to 3 hours 10).  I have also qualified for Hawaii every year and have progressed from making up the numbers there in 2005 to feeling that I have a genuine shot at the podium in my age group (finishing 19th in 2008, 21st in 2009 and 14th in 2010, when I also finished in under 9 hours 30, a time I would not have believed possible for me three years ago).

Thanks to James’ input and to the quality of the other athletes I get to train with as part of Optima I am convinced that there are further improvements still to come, even though I am now in my mid-40’s and could be expected to be slowing down rather than getting faster.

On a technical level James took me right back to basics with my running and converted me from heel striking to forefoot running.  This was a process that I found very difficult at first (mentally as much as physically, as the run was already my strongest discipline and I took some convincing that such a big change was sensible or necessary), but it has paid dividends and has contributed substantially to my triathlon achievements over the last few years and has given me a huge amount of confidence in my ability to make up places towards the end of races.

Karren Axledottier (AG 30 – 34)

I started training with Optima Racing Team in 2008 where James Beckinsale is the head coach.

Despite a busy lifestyle, working full time and being a mother of two children, I’ve managed to get some top age group results  and that I thank to  James and Optima Racing Team. Not only has James taught me how to swim, cycle and run properly.  His focus on quality as oppose to quantity, his enthusiasm for the sport and endless support really has transformed me as an athlete.  After 3 years  I’m still improving and most importantly I’m still looking forward to every session.

Some results highlights:

2009 Triathlon European Championships, Netherlands – 3rd AG, 4th overall

2009 Icelandic National 20 km, TT champion and reccord holder.

2010 Triathlon European Championships, Ireland – 2nd AG, 4 th overall

2010 Ironman Australia – Port Macquarie 23 rd overall, including professionals.

2010 British Sprint Championships, 1 st Female overall, course reccord.

2010 Bristh Olympic dist. Championships, 1 st Agegroup – 3 rd overall

Multiple wins and podium places in the UK and in Iceland. Thames Turbo Triathlon course reccord holder. National Sprint MK course reccord holder. Voted female triathlete of the year in Iceland.

2011 Ironman Austria – aiming for gold!

Rory Aitkin (Junior 16)

Since joining Optima James has looked at my technique across all three disciplines and over the course of this year my times have continued to  drop. I finshed my first season ranked 8th nationally in duathlon and  13th in triathlon and overall winner of the Youth London Triathlon League. I’ve really appreciated the one to one coaching and the atmosphere of the club, even the increase in sessions hasn’t phased me! James’s insight into the technical aspects of coaching and his knowledge of a triathlon as a whole have helped me stay injury free and dramatically improved my perfromance.

Carrie Boericke (Mum)

My 10 year old son has benefited greatly from individual coaching from Emma, serving to improve his performance and his confidence.  Her coaching style is entirely bespoke – tailored to suit the ability and age of the child, as well as their personality – rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach.  She is patient but firm with children, meeting them on whatever level they bring to the session in a given discipline, but insisting on personal improvement as the objective.

Sophia Sallar (Junior 16)

I met James and Emma for the first time in March 2010. It was a rainy Saturday morning in RichmondPark and I was there for my first proper run. I was a swimmer before and having done good at an Aquathlon, I decided to try running and maybe get into Triathlon a bit later. However, it didn’t start very well: just 5km were enough to kill me. Nevertheless, I came back for the next session and I didn’t give up – so James didn’t give up on me and taught me how to run properly. I made good progress and at the end of summer and after having done several Aquathlons, I was selected to represent the London region at the Interregional Triathlon Championships. There was just one problem: never having ridden a roadbike before, I only had seven weeks to get fit on the bike. While James pushed my motivation and self confidence to get this done, it was Emma who understood my concerns and spent a lot of time to teach me the “mysteries” of cycling. After those seven weeks, and some minor crashes, I was ready for the IRCs and achieved a very good 15. place. James is an amazing coach. He knows what is going on in your head, he knows when it hurts and he has always an open ear if it is about fitting training sessions around school or solving any other problems that might come up. In addition, he has taught me how to have fun while training hard, that the key to success is to never give up and that pain is just weakness leaving the body.

Toby Mathewson (30-35 sprint)

Before meeting James I was training consistently but with no real purpose and strategy. I saw the Optima group cycling in Richmond Park and got in touch with James. I came to swim, bike and run sessions that week and was impressed with the technical insight and individual time James was able to deliver. This is the difference about James and Optima. You always get the sense that you get a tailored approach but with all the benefits of a group environment. James thinks hard about the sessions and about what it takes to help you meet and exceed your goals.
He also inspires commitment, dedication and a great club atmosphere. It’s a great system. In terms of performance James has really helped progress the technical, mental and physical aspects of my triathlon racing.

Key results

3rd Clash if the Tritons Aquathlon
5th Morden Aquathlon
1st Corporate Marketing Triathlon
3rd Age Group London Hyde Park (qualified euro champs)
4th National Relays
1st Tri Nations Dorney Lake Super Sprint (55:10)
3rd European Age Group Champs (fastest run)
2nd overall, 1st age group London Hyde Park Sprint (fastest bike and run)
2nd Hillingdon Triathlon

Armanni Antoine-Chagar (Junior)

I am Armanni Antoine-Chagar and I have been attending Optima Training training camp for 4 years. The first time I attended the training camp was to learn about what triathlon was about and learnt a lot of skills needed in triathlon, for example mounting and dismounting. The training camps got better and better every year I attended and I always learnt something new. The last two years I attended I really needed help on my bike and after the camp i always felt ready for the season which was great. I made many friends who were either trying to get fit or had a great interest in sport like I do. The friends I made from the first camp i still have as good friends now and from the other camps.

Cheyenne Antoine-Chagar (Youth)

I Have been doing the Optima Tri camp For 4 years now and the best thing about them definitely has to be the atmosphere. We always work hard, but are constantly learning and having fun, thats what makes the camp great. Over the years I have learnt and grown into the triathlete that I am today thanks to the camp. I’m still learning , so I’ll be doing the camp again this year.

Andrew Devenport

I first met James in 2004 on the recommendation of a friend at a time when, following a couple of decades of a fairly sedentary lifestyle I had unwisely decided to challenge a fitter Australian friend to a series of triathlons in Oz. James is a truly great professional, able to adjust his coaching even to my depths and to pass on his passion for the three disciplines. Over the past six years he has encouraged and supported my ambitions, integrated me into the Optima team (which I’m very proud to be associated with) and has never ever organised two identical sessions or lost his patience or enthusiasm with me. Thanks to James I have completed ,  well and enjoyably in some cases, the following events (and tied the series with the Aussie!)

Triathlons: 4 (Hampton, Maloolaba (Aus), Byron Bay (Aus), Gold Coast (Aus))

Etapes: 3 (2005/6/7), plus a number of long distance cycling one day events in the UK

Ultra-long cycling events: 2 (Land’s End to John O’Groats (5 days 1365km), France longest diagonal (8days 1640km))

Swims: 4 (Lamu Kenya, 2005,7,8,9)

Half-Marathon: 1 (2010 Royal Parks)

I have no hesitation in recommending him to any athlete of any standard and any age.

Julie Penney (Mum)

Ruby has been training and competing in triathlons for about a year now for a local club and is still very keen. Last summer she

wanted to try out a weeks full training at Optima’s Triathlon Camp on the advice from her older brother that it would help her performance. She came home after every session very enthusiastic trying to explain all the new things she had learnt whether it be

swimming, running or cycling techniques. What has been so good is that she has actually remembered so many tips and on her own back made some changes to her swimming and running techniques. She’ll definitely be coming back for more this year.

Athlete Testimonials

Toby Matthewson (30-35 AG Triathlete)

Before meeting James I was training consistently but with no real purpose and strategy. I was impressed with the technical insight and individual time James was able to deliver....

Read more

Carrie Boericke (Mother)

My 10 year old son has benefited greatly from individual coaching by Emma, serving to improve his performance and his confidence. Her coaching style is entirely bespoke....

Read more

Elizabeth Jack (Personal Coaching)

I have used James as a trainer for several years and in that time I have changed from being a relatively unfit person with a bad back who did very little exercise into someone who has run a marathon .....

Read more


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