Coaching the next step in a 30-year triathlon journey


After first discovering triathlon in the 1980s, James Lafferty followed his passion for the sport by embarking on a coaching career with his local club.

His journey in triathlon began in the 1980s when his brother John, one of the pioneers of the sport in Scotland, took up the sport and James joined his brother a few years later.

He explains: “My brother, John Lafferty, was one of a handful of Scottish triathletes who helped spread awareness of this emerging sport in the 1980s. He went on to compete in many IRONMAN triathlons overseas and got me hooked on the sport. I joined Stirling Triathlon Club as one of its early members back in the 1990s. At the time, I was working as a local authority Sport Officer and organised the Cumbernauld Triathlon, helping to promote the sport further. “

Since then, the family’s love of triathlon has continued and James introduced his son to the sport which led to him getting even more involved in the sport.

He continues: “I recently introduced my son to triathlon and found I was spending much of my time taking him to and from his training sessions. So, I decided to get qualified and help the head coach, Elise Methven, deliver training to the juniors at East Fife Triathlon Club.”

And while he still races, James takes greater pride in supporting the next generation of Scottish triathletes to progress within the sport.

He says: “Coaching is very rewarding. I still compete myself occasionally, but I now get more pleasure from helping others and giving something back to the sport that inspired me in my youth. It’s great to see new triathletes emerging onto the scene. 

“Progress is very visible with young triathletes. We take some who can barely swim and after a year in the club, they are competent in front crawl, know how to ride a bike safely and run efficiently. Many go on to compete and even join national groups. So, we are helping to nurture the next generation of Scottish triathletes.”

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