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Home / About James Stewart - Performance Coach and Ultra Endurance Trail Runner

About James Stewart - Performance Coach and Ultra Endurance Trail Runner

Hello and welcome to my website Couch to the Summit


My name is James Stewart. I'm an Australian born 42-year old avid adventurer, health and fitness advocate, adventure photographer/film-maker, vertical-focused mountain endurance athlete and performance coach! 

I'm excited to share with you my vision for health success and creating a life filled with health and adventure. I don't believe fitness is something you have to struggle with. Developing greater health and endurance doesn't have to be a painful pursuit or require uncomfortable sacrifices, you just have to find a passion that fills you with joy that you can also apply to your health and fitness journey. I believe we are all capable of doing far more than we think we can, but sadly most people never tap into the large reservoir of their fitness potential. My website and coaching services aim to help people rise to their highest potential sharing the philosophies and approaches I have used upon my hundreds of mountain adventures across some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world I have been very privileged to encounter in person. One of the biggest thoughts that play on my mind during these outings, is just how so few people ever get to witness the incredible things I have seen, and my hope is that more people can find the courage to take a step forward in this direction.

The latest science shows humans are more removed from nature than ever before, and this is causing problematic health. People are understandably frightened of nature the more they become removed from it.  Reaching the summit is about breaking through the mental prison we lock ourselves in, but its very hard to take the first steps off the couch and get started on taking action. I am motivated to assist people of all ages and fitness levels to develop an active lifestyle allowing them to truly experience the gift of movement in nature.


I have 15 years experience in absorbing myself in the world of health and fitness. I have experimented with a variety of differing methods toward training the body to function at the highest level.

Everything I do with Couch to the Summit is focused on the long-term outcomes, rather than short-term gratifications. I am here to help you discover that the journey doesn't have to be intimidating, and that small steps in the right direction can snowball exponentially into great outcomes in the future. 

I am an experienced short distance vertical mountain and stair racer and more recently, an ultra endurance athlete. I have raced all over the world in stair climbs, in vertical KM races, in the world's hardest trail marathon races and now ultra-endurance events. You can see my sporting CV highlights at the bottom of this page. 

I have been running my performance coaching service since 2019, and I haved worked with people of all varying health and fitness levels, from absolute beginners to hiking/running to elite athletes. The feedback I have received has been heart-warming. Just like my running, I do try to go the extra mile for my clients. I give my coaching everything I have, in the same way I give my all to my athletic pursuits.  You can learn more about my coaching by clicking here.


I've achieved a lot of great feats without being gifted with the most elite level natural abilities. Sedentary for 10 years, I only began trail running around age 30, and have had to work hard to build up my body's strength and fitness - overcoming numerous health setbacks and injuries - to eventually rise to a high standard. Running in the mountains has been my salvation from physical pain, chronic stress, depression and many other health issues. In my 20's, I felt like I was 80-years-old, and I tried numerous interventions to get rid of chronic back pain and also overcome debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome. I made a radical change to my diet, and this set me on a path to leaving now stone unturned in my journey toward health. I went from an extremely weak individual to have great physical endurance and stamina. I turned my life around and by 35, I was standing on the starting line competing against the world's greatest endurance athletes in the mountains of Europe. I was shocked when I finished my first skyrunning marathon in Mont Blanc Chamonix in 55th place in 2013, and two years later, I improved that to 21st place out of 2000 participants. None of this would have been possible if I didn't decide one day to take action and to push outside my comfort zone.

With hard work and dedication this pathway is possible for many people. I have dedicated myself to working hard and building a consistent base of fitness without wearing myself into the ground. This has been a long process over a decade now, working to get every inch out of performance I could achieve but placing key focus on ensuring my health is not compromised by my endurance activities. At 42, I am still climbing to the highest levels of performance I have reached through my career and I don't plan on slowing down anytime soon!

Please find me on Instagram to view my Daily Adventure Photography: @couchtothesummit

Couch to the Summit also has a Youtube Channel. Please subscribe!

And follow Couch to the Summit on Facebook:

Get in touch with me at


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James' Athletic CV:

Mar: Everesting Challenge - (92km / 8900m) Cardiac Hill, Burnaby, Canada
4th - Run Ridge Run - (25km / 1400m) Belcarra, Canada
7th - Survival of the Fittest (35km / 1500m) Squamish, Canada
1st - Vancouver 100km - 13hrs56m [*16 mins from course record time] - (100km / 5500m) North Vancouver, Canada
5th - Run Ridge Run - (25km / 1400m) Belcarra, Canada
FKT - Golden Ears - West Canyon Parking Lot to Summit (12km / 1700m) 2hrs2mins  (Now surpassed).
FKT - Double Howe Sound Crest Trail (54km/4500m), 10hrs58mins (Previous time 13hrs49mins) BC, Canada [ Video ]
3rd - Hallow's Eve Trail Marathon (42km / 1800m) Vancouver, Canada
July/August/September: Three months daily adventure photography hiking and trail running. Alps, Europe. [ Instagram Portfolio ]
37th - BEI K3 (9km / 3000m) Susa, Italy
2nd - Multi Grouse Grind Challenge - 18 Grinds in 19 hours (beyond the previous record of 17) (48km / 14650m) North Vancouver, Canada [ Article ]
11th/500 - Seek the Peak (13km / 1300m) North Vancouver, Canada
FKT - Howe Sound Crest Trail North to South route - (28km, 3000m) BC, Canada (Now surpassed).
June/July/August: Three months daily adventure photography hiking and trail running. Pyrenees and Alps, Europe.
14th/4000 – Taipei 101 Stair Race (90 floors) Taipei, Taiwan
12th – Grouse Grind Trail Race (2km / 800m) North Vancouver, Canada
13th/4000 – Taipei 101 Stair Race (90 floors) Taipei, Taiwan
Mt Fuji Summit 5hrs starting from 6 Chome Fujimi (23km / 3000m) Japan [ Video ]
1st – Crackenback Challenge (2km / 600m) Thredbo, Australia
3rd/1400 – Q1 Tower Stair Climb (77 floors) Gold Coast, Australia [ Video
2nd – Mt Bogong Conquestathon (20km / 1300m) Mt Bogong, Australia
15th – Buffalo Stampede Marathon (42km / 2900m) Bright, Australia
8th – Milla Vertical d’Areu (4km / 1600m) Areu, Spain
2nd – Verticale du Criou (4km / 1500m) Samoens, France
31st/400 – Sky Running European Championships Mont Blanc Vertical KM (3km / 1000m) Chamonix, France
21st/2500 – Mont Blanc Marathon (42km / 2900m) Chamonix, France
23rd – Vertical KM Val-d’Isère (2km / 1000m) Val-d’Isère, France
58th – Dolomites Vertical KM (2km / 1000m) Canazei, Italy
69th – Dolomites Sky Race (21km / 1900m) Canazei, Italy
18th – TPS Vertical K2 (7km / 2000m) Sainte-Foy-Tarantaise, France
31st/400 – Red Bull K3 (9km / 3000m) Susa, Italy
13th – Eureka Tower Stair Climb (88 floors) Melbourne, Australia
Screenshot 2022-02-08 232018
1st – La Sportiva Bon Accord Vertical KM (7km / 1300m) Harrietville, Australia
3rd – 2014 Verti-cool Black Mountain Ultimate Stair Climb Challenge - Canberra, Australia
9th – Bright 4 Peaks - 4 day Race - Bright, Australia
8th – Eureka Tower Stair Climb (88 floors) Melbourne, Australia
6th – Tour de Ridges Half Marathon (21km / 600m) Canberra, Australia
27th – Mont Blanc Vertical KM (3km / 1000m) Chamonix, France
55th/2500 – Mont Blanc Marathon (42km / 2700m) Chamonix, France
65th – Sky Running European Championships Dolomites Vertical KM (2km / 1000m) Canazei, Italy
99th – Dolomites Sky Race (21km / 1900m) Canazei, Italy
2nd – K2 Summit Half Marathon Auburn (21km / 700m) CA, USA
5th – ACT Mountain Running Championships (11km / 1000m) Mt Tennant, Australia
3rd – ACT Mountain Running Championships (Tidbinbilla, Australia)
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