James was born in Northampton and grew up in South Lincolnshire, North of Peterborough. He spent 3 years at the University of Birmingham, representing them eight times at BUCS events over this period. Joining the University as a 3:59 1500m runner, he ran 3:50 in his final year there, won the Midlands 1500m Championship, and reached the final of the England U23 Championships, placing 11th. In September 2018, James started full time work on the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme and was based in Sheffield for the year. He joined Hallamshire Harriers in this period and won the Northern indoor 1500m Championship in January 2019. In 2019, James qualified for both the indoor and outdoor British Championships and broke the 3:50 barrier for the first time with a 3:47.81 time at the home of British distance running: Watford.
James moved down to Cardiff in September 2019 to work at the Office for National Statistics and joined the TeamThie group. Since joining the group, he reached the final of the British Indoor Championship for the first time, placing 9th and knocked 6 seconds off his 3000m PB with an 8:22 run at the Non-Thomas Open. Passionate about the sport, he also race directed the Inaugural Virtual National Road Relay Championship, in which over 3,700 athletes participated and over £9,000 was raised for charity. His targets for the 2020 outdoor season (assuming it happens) are to run 3:44 for 1500m and to make the final of the British Championships.