A little more about the man...

James Cunnama is a professional triathlete from South Africa.​ He is based in Stellenbosch. He competes mostly in long-course, Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlons.

Birthday: 27 April 1983

Born: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Hometown: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Education: Bachelors Human Movement Science, NMMU, Port Elizabeth


James is one half of the (unofficial) fastest triathlon couple in the world together with Jodie Swallow, from the United Kingdom. They have been together for over 2yrs and travel and race together as much as possible. You can follow the Swallow here: www.Ifollowtheswallow.co.uk. 


James started life in one of the major centres for endurance sport in South Africa, Pietermaritzburg. Coming from a very sporty family with both parents having completed multiple Comrades Marathons and Dusi Canoe Marathons, James discovered the joys of long distance running at a young age. While most of his peers were staying up late and sleeping in, James was doing the opposite and getting up on cold, dark winter mornings for pre-dawn runs with his mother’s running group (an eclectic bunch of much older runners called ‘The Pukers’) fuelling dreams of Comrades Marathon greatness.

James soon discovered that the longer the race the better he fared, having a talent for endurance sports. James focused on long-distance running, completing half-marathons at the tender age of 16, easily winning the Junior category at a number of local races.

In 2002 James moved to Port Elizabeth in order to study for a degree in Human Movement Science at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and at the same time turned his attention to middle-distance track in order to improve his speed over all distances. Ironically, it was this move away from Pietermaritzburg, one of the multi-sport capitals of the country, which led James to triathlon.

In 2004 the Spec-Savers Half-Ironman came to PE for the first time and James was drafted into the volunteer ranks to assist in race-day organisation. The next year the real thing, the Ironman, came to town and James became more involved in the organisation. This first-hand encounter with one of the toughest single-day endurance events in the world opened the door to a new world and James was bitten by the notorious ‘triathlon bug’, and the rest, as they say, is history!


​Ironman Personal Best Time: 7:51:02 (Ironman Frankfurt 2017)


Ironman France - 1st



Challenge Roth - 6th

Ironman Hamburg - 3rd



Ironman 70.3 SA - 2nd

Ironman South Africa - 10th

Ironman 70.3 Switzerland - 2nd

Ironman Frankfurt - 4th

Ironman Hamburg - 1st

Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote - 1st

Ironman 70.3 Weymouth - 1st

Ironman World Champs - 5th



Ironman 70.3 SA - 3rd

Ironman France - 2nd

Ironman 70.3 Sweden - 3rd

Alpe D'HUez Triathlon LD - 1st

Embrunman - 1st





Ironman Mallorca - 2nd

Ironman 70.3 Bahrain - 3rd





Ironman 70.3 South Africa - 1st






IRONMAN World Champs, Kona - 4th


Ironman 70.3 Cozumel - 1st


Challenge Walchsee - 1st


Ironman Texas - 2nd


Challenge Roth - 2nd


Eagleman 70.3 - 2nd


Embrunman - 3rd




Challenge Roth - 1st (7:59:59)

Rev3 Quassy - 2nd

Wildflower - 3rd


Rev3 Quassy Half - 1st

Columbia Triathlon (Olympic) - 2nd

Wildflower Long Course - 3rd

Ironman South Africa - 3rd         (8h13)

Ironman 70.3 Singapore - 2nd

Ironman 70.3 South Africa - 2nd


Ironman Florida - 1st                   (8h15)

Ironman 70.3 Austin, Texas - 1st

Rev3 Cedar Point, Ohio - 1st       (8h21)

Embrunman Triathlon, France - 2nd

Alpe D'Huez Triathlon, France - 1st

Challenge Roth - 6th                    (8h19)

Challenge Kraichgua - 2nd

Ironman 70.3 Singapore - 2nd

Ironman 70.3 South Africa - 2nd


Embrunman Triathlon, France - 3rd

Alpe D'Huez Triathlon, France - 3rd

Ironman Austria - 2nd                      (8h14:18)

Challenge Kraichgua, Germany - 2nd

Challenge France, Niederbronn - 4th

Ironman South Africa - 6th (1st SA Man)



Ironman 70.3 South Africa 2008 - 6th (3rd South African)


Ironman South Africa 2008 - 10th (3rd South African)


SA Long Course Champs - 4th (Elite category)


Ironman South Africa 2007 (novice Ironman) - 21st (8th South African)


Other events:

SA Duathlon Champs 2008 - 2nd Elite

Mont-Aux-Sources 50km Challenge 2008 (trail run) - 1st