When we mention ‘Coach Parry’ you might just think running and to be fair, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking so. We’re about so much more though… 

…This week, we feature a long-standing member who is really part of the Coach Parry furniture. Jim Panton was one of our first members signing up in 2016 after many years of not running.

Like many of us, Jim started running at school (in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa). Tracking PBs wasn’t a big thing back then but he does recall running a 17:01 5000m and a 4:24 1500m on the track, plus a one off 1hr 24m half-marathon at the age of 19. 

Watching the Comrades Marathon run past his school gate every year from 1982 to 1986 and seeing local legend, Bruce Fordyce, and others go by, the pull to do Comrades one day became strong.

Finally getting around to running the Comrades Marathon

He moved to the UK right after school in 1986 and drifted away from focused running for a while…  

…At the age of 30 Jim finally tickled the Comrades itch and did a back to back in 1999 – 2000, with his best being a 9hrs 46min.

With that box ticked, he pretty much stopped running again.  

In 2015, aged 47 and with his kids now older, not having run properly in years, Jim decided he needed one more crack at Comrades to beat 9 hrs for a Bill Rowan medal before he was too old. 

After “failing” initially in 2016 (9hrs 49) he came across Coach Parry. By following a Coach Parry program and all the advice, Jim smashed Comrades comfortably in 2018 with 8hrs 54m.

Jim then set his sights on Ironman

Since joining Coach Parry, he has set new “modern-day” PBs in all the main distances from 5k (19.08), 10k (41.05), half marathon (1hr 29), marathon (3hr 18), and Comrades (8hr 54), with the latter two being life-long PBs… 

…A friend then suggested an Ironman. Discovering that the CoachParry Training club also had triathlon plans from sprint all the way to full Ironman, Jim went on to finish Ironman Frankfurt in 2019 in what was only his 3rd triathlon of any kind.

Jim Panton GB bike

Jim describes his next step…

“With the long distance boxes ticked, I started to realise my strength from school was middle distance running, not the long stuff, and that the triathlon multi-discipline is good fun.

I switched back to shorter events and again with Coach Parry’s training plans and help, I qualified for the Great Britain (GB) age group team in Aquathlon (750m swim and 5k run)

And recently finished 5th in my age group at the GB team sprint triathlon qualifier. I’m just waiting on team selection news now.

I was also totally delighted to go sub 20 minutes in the 5k run leg of the recent sprint tri qualifier, coming off the swim and bike, more recently at the age of 52.”

We asked Jim if he had any struggles in achieving these results. For him, just coming back from years of “neglecting” his body was the biggest obstacle to overcome.

He suffered from injuries in 2015 but after switching to Coach Parry, he has only had one minor injury, otherwise, things have gone really well and he is loving the constant improvement he is experiencing.

Jim Panton GB Tri Swim

“Strangely,  if you follow the training programs to the letter, maintain consistency and avoid getting too keen and doing too much,  it hasn’t actually been too difficult.”

We asked Jim what he has learnt through his experience of training with Coach Parry (and this might resonate well with many of our clients around the world);

  • Easy runs  and recovery time are as critical as the harder sessions –  “I used to push every session hard  and that made it very challenging to keep going and to progress.”
  • Consistency – “it sometimes feels like repeated sessions week after week but it really pays off.”
  • Strength – “ I never did any structured strength sessions, I can feel the difference in my core and legs now. (You can download a free Coach Parry strength training plan by clicking here)

Finally,  Coach Parry overall is fantastic.  The training plans, the advice through the forum, Q&A sessions, podcasts and videos, plus live strength sessions make it a superb overall package.

Jim Panton Forum post

There is no way I would be pulling on the GB age group colours now without them.  Thanks guys!

Looking ahead, while Comrades is always a pull for Jim, for the time being, it’s about doing as much as he can with shorter distance International Age Group triathlons.

Jim, we are as excited to see what you are capable of, as you are! We love having you on team Coach Parry and we are so proud of your achievements.

Ultimately, Jim would love to achieve a top ten position at a World or European age group championship. 

“I’ll never know what I could have done – but I’m loving finding out what I can still do now.”

Of late, Jim has been using the Coach Parry Faster Beyond 50 Training Framework. If you’d like to discover more about how it works and how you can implement it in your training, then book your seat in our Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass below. 

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…


Devlin Eyden has a passion for seeing his athletes grow and excel. From novice runners or cyclists across all disciplines to elite mountain bikers representing South Africa at World Championships. In addition to helping you ride faster, for longer, Devlin also has the personal touch when it comes to your bike setup, aiming at improving the overall rider experience. With his background as a Sport Scientist as well as a Strength & Conditioning specialist, performance is Devlin’s main priority, be it in the gym, the lab or out on the road or trails. Being a keen runner & cyclist and having completed the Cape Epic among others, Devlin has first hand experience in what it take to reach your goals. If you’re looking for a once-off training program or ongoing, high touch support Devlin has you covered.

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