Cunnama was born in Pietermaritzburg, one of the major centres for endurance sport in South Africa. Coming from a very athletic family, with both parents having completed multiple Comrades Marathons and Dusi Canoe Marathons, he discovered the joys of distance running at a young age.
James was completing half-marathons by the tender age of 16 and easily winning the Junior category at a number of local races. In 2002 he moved to Port Elizabeth 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 that led Cunnama to triathlon.
FROM VOLUNTEER TO VICTOR
In 2004 the Spec-Savers Half-Ironman came to Port Elizabeth for the first time, and Cunnama was drafted into the volunteer ranks to assist in race-day organisation. The next year the real thing, the full Ironman, came to town, and Cunnama became more involved in the organisation. This first-hand encounter with one of the toughest single-day endurance events in the world hooked Cunnama, who less than a decade later finished fourth at the 2013 Ironman World Championship and was victorious in Ironman 70.3 South Africa alongside his future wife, Britain’s Jodie Swallow.
Since then, James has been a threat to win wherever he’s competed on his Cervélo P5 or P5X. 2016 was a banner year, with victories at the Alpe d’Huez and Embrunman triathlons, and a second-place finish at Ironman France sending James to his second Ironman World Championship.
There’s more to the ultimate triathlon bike than blowing benchmarks away. For the first time in Cervélo’s history — for the first time in history, period — the unique needs of every triathlete, whether training, racing or travelling, are truly front and centre.
Proven fastest in the wind tunnel and on the Ironman circuit, the P5 showcases Cervélo’s industry-leading aerodynamic engineering.
The S5 aero road bike is the proven leader of the aero road segment – faster, stiffer, and more responsive. The bike of choice for most of the Dimension Data Team including Mark Cavendish.
The C5, is designed to inspire confidence through a new endurance fit that delivers predictable, stable handling.