Chris Oldnall and I met in December 2014, after bumping into one another at the Virgin Active pool in Ballito while training for 70.3 East London the following January. He finished that years race in a time of 6:08. Fast forward to August 2015 when Chris contacted me for coaching.

At that stage Chris didn’t have much experience in triathlon and had only done the odd race as a challenge or “dare” with his brothers. Luckily having come from a sporting background in hockey and boxing, he knew what it took to be competitive in sport.

We worked on the best plan for his training to fit in with his already busy schedule as a teacher and hockey coach at St. Alban’s College in Pretoria. Chris showed unbelievable commitment from the start and followed all advice and instructions as far as it was possible. Our first priority race (with 4 months of coaching) was 70.3 East London 2016.

61 minute PB to qualify for the World Championships

With a near perfect build up, Chris had a great race on the day and finished in a time of 5:07:21, 7th in his age category. Taking a massive 61 minutes off his previous personal best. This result also earned Chris a slot to participate in the 70.3 World championships in Mooloolaba, Australia. Things were looking up. He also participated in 70.3 Durban as a preparation race and unfortunately the swim leg was cancelled due to rough sea conditions, but still managed time of 4:00:00 obviously excluding the swim. We were excited to see what his next race would offer.

Having enjoyed the coaching and training, Chris set his sights on one more race before worlds. Challenge Roth in Germany. With 3.8km swim, 180km bike leg and a 42,2km run, we knew it was going to be tough to step things up and still try and balance his day to day responsibilities as well.

Why has Chris improved so much?

Chris’ eagerness to learn as much as possible and improve as an athlete made the journey very rewarding for us both. Whenever we felt something wasn’t right, we would make a few changes until we felt we were on the right track. Sticking to a healthy eating, training and sleeping plan we were excited about the race coming up.

Race day had arrived. We had a specific race strategy for him leading into the race. On the day, Chris put all his training to the test and it paid off, big time. Following the planned strategy and having favorable conditions on the day Chris finished the race in an incredible time of 10:14:20. This is a big achievement! As I’m sure many of you would know finishing an ultra-distance triathlon is challenging enough, let alone in a great time.

Unfortunately, after all the highs came a low for Chris. Three days before his world champs in Australia, he started feeling sick and eventually ended up with tonsillitis. He still managed to do the race (very easy on antibiotics) just for the experience and got his finishers shirt.

It’s been a good 14 months with Chris. He has proved that consistent training and good coaching advice combined can bring good results. Hopefully we have another #FastFriday post or two coming up in the near future.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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