SUCCESS in athletics can often be a family affair. Scots such as Callum Hawkins and Eilish McColgan have thrived under the tutelage of their parents, while track star Jake Wightman is another who has preferred to turn to his family to coach him to success on the track.

The 25-year-old has always worked with his dad, Geoff, as his coach, and readily admits that a professional relationship with a close relative will naturally throw up the odd problem here or there. But a conversation with a family friend convinced him that his dad was the right man for the job.

The friend said that he too used to be an athlete, and that he had spent his sporting career being coached by his father – something that he was convinced helped get the best out of him.

This discussion was enough to convince Wightman that working with his dad would keep him on the right track. As well it should, given who the family friend was. A certain Seb Coe, who was trained by his father, Peter.

Lord Coe is a family friend of the Wightmans, with both Geoff and Susan (Tooby) international athletes from that era, so when Jake sought out advice about the coach-athlete relationship with a parent he turned to the man at the top of world athletics.

“I have been lucky enough to meet up with Seb – I went to see him last year and a lot of what we talked about was the way he worked with his dad as his coach,” revealed the European and Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist. “My dad has read up a fair bit about Peter Coe. My dad reads a lot on coaching.

“I wanted to speak to Seb and see how they managed the relationship. It can be testing at times, of course it can when it is your parent involved. So I wanted to ask if there were points in his career where Seb felt like he might have been better off with someone else as his coach.

“But he told me he always felt that working with his dad was the best thing for him and there was no reason to change. And that made me feel that was exactly how it was for us – we’ve never felt the need to change it.

“Peter and Seb Coe clearly developed a level of trust together and a structure which worked for them. I feel like that’s the way it is with my dad. It will always present one or two problems when it is a parent – because you are always going to be willing to say more than you would do otherwise. I’m sure Callum and Derek Hawkins will feel the same with their dad [Robert] and Eilish McColgan with her mum [Liz].

“Peter and Seb had amazing results together as a father-son partnership and a coach-athlete partnership. Hopefully one day I will look back and feel something similar.”

Coe and Wightman would meet again at the 2018 Commonwealths. Jake finished fourth in the 800m before winning bronze in the 1500m in his fourth race in five days, less than 48 hours after the two-lap final.

It would be Lord Coe who presented Wightman with his medal – and the British Olympic great added a personal touch to celebrate Jake’s success.

“Seb actually presented my bronze medal for the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast 2018,” recalled Jake, in a special interview with

“He was wearing a Loughborough Uni [where Jake studied] tie that day and told me he had done so especially for me. I am not so sure about that but it did make it special that he was on the presentations that day.

“I wasn’t born when he raced but I have watched the footage back and he is the athlete I would most like to be like. I would give anything to be able to deliver the times and finishes he came up with at the Olympics on two occasions.”

Dad Geoff is now a renowned stadium commentator and while that often means Jake has now coach input immediately pre-race, the 25-year-old is convinced the partnership works.

“I have never felt the need to change coach,” he said. “I think even from me as a young kid my dad probably thought we would be fine so long as he got it right. I’ve never resented the fact I didn’t have someone else as a coach.

“My dad knows me as a person. He knows how I respond. He knows how to treat me if I’m not running well or am tired. You can’t replace that.

“I don’t think I’d have got as far as I have in the sport without having someone alongside me who has grown with me.”

*Watch the full Jake Wightman interview at