The PURPOSE Podcast: Rupert Chen, from mechanical engineer to triathlete development

The PURPOSE Podcast: Rupert Chen, from mechanical engineer to triathlete development

RC Coaching is a name you would have (and should have) heard of if you’re in the sport of triathlon in Malaysia. Named after the founder and head coach Rupert Chen, RC Coaching started out with him coaching some close friends for a couple of years for free, while he started to race at more competitive levels.

Soon after, he decided to take up coaching certification and RC Coaching became his full-time job. In just a few years, with three full-time staff, three full-time coaches, six part-time coaches and about 150 students across Klang Valley and Penang, Rupert aspires to expand RC Coaching to Johor in the near future.

It was a long journey though. 14 years ago, Rupert started as a runner but felt he was hitting a plateau, thus he searched for a sport which could challenge him more and give more variety.

That’s when he stumbled across triathlon. At first, he competed in triathlons purely for leisure. However, after he resigned from his corporate job as an engineer, Rupert had more time to train and he saw results within a short period of time.

When he started coaching people in triathlon, one challenge he faced was finding a proper swimming pool to coach in as most of the pools were already tied up with other club or coaches. “I had to sneak into other people’s pools to coach!” he revealed cheekily.

Thankfully, with some luck in 2017, a friend who manages a pool offered to collaborate. With this, he registered RC Coaching as a business and officially began coaching full-time in early 2018.

This is not his first business – Rupert set up other businesses before but they hit rock bottom. Finally finding his calling, seeing his athletes – both on an age group and national level – progress gives Rupert the motivation and gratification to continue his pursuit in coaching. 

Still competitive at the age group level himself, Rupert built RC Coaching with the belief and culture of inclusivity. He aims to change the culture of triathlon in Malaysia to become a more welcoming and inclusive community.

Listen to what Rupert has to say about his experience in switching careers and how he balances coaching, training and his relationship! Out on Spotify now.

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