After an epic win at the 24 hour race, the Spitfire Scramble, we thought we'd catch up with Damian to find out a bit more about what drives him to compete in endurance events:
1 - How long have you been running for?
I have been running for about 12 years now.
2 - What got you in to running?
After I returned from a tour of Iraq with the British Army, I was at a low point in my life and found myself in a hard and dark place. It was tough, I’m not going to lie or try to act all brave. Running became a priority in life, I could see that I’m happier when I get out the door and run. It was like my medication. Ever since that I just love everything about running.
3 - What’s been your greatest achievement to date?
I feel I still haven’t achieved what I want in running, so watch this space J
4 - You won the 24 hour trail race, the Spitfire Scramble recently, completing 22 laps - 125 miles! How did you prepare for race and how did the race go for you?
This was my first 24 hour race, I had no idea how to prepare and entered on a whim. When I told my mates, they looked at me as if I had three heads. Going into my first 24hr race was exciting, its something I felt I could do pretty well at, the unknown is something I’ve been drawn towards and this is totally unknown to me.
It was going to be a huge challenge both mentally and physically but I welcomed it with open arms. From a road background, I knew I was going to be in a different world out there. I had the support of my parents who helped arrange my nutrition and it was spot on in the event. I spent the week getting advice from Mountain fuel experts who were kind enough to go through a race plan. This included staying hydrated with Mountain Fuel energy drink. It is easy on the stomach, providing the perfect balance of carbohydrate, protein, electrolytes and vitamins. Every 4 hours I would drink Mountain Fuel recovery shake which helped me replenish the muscles.
Throughout the race I would snack on foods such as pretzels, bananas and dried fruit. Also every hour I would top up my energy levels by having Mountain Fuel Sport Jelly with Electrolytes, the refreshing alternative to sports gels. The cola flavour was amazing. You need to try them!! The night stage was different. I had couple of coffees to keep me on track as I wasn’t planning on resting much.
5 - Do you have any rituals prior to, during, or after a race that you have to stick to?
I used to be a very superstitious person, however, I had so many superstitions that I didn't know which one was working for me or which one was the bad omen! So now I just go out and enjoy myself.
6 - What’s your favourite post run meal?
After a necking a recovery shake, I set my eyes on the biggest pizza I can find and a little coke. Failing that, I'll settle for anything my partner cooks. Don’t forget a nice starbucks on route home!
7 - What's been your favourite event so far?
This is tricky.. I love every race I do. All tell a story. To name a few – Cardiff half, Pony express, and any race in the lake District . However, I went through a spell in races where I got lost or took a wrong turn. This went on for about 4 races in a row. Yes I am a nightmare lol!
8 - If you could run any race in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to run Western States 100 because there is always something going on and a tale from every year such as Jim Walmsley taking the wrong turn, it is such an unpredictable race, I would have loved to have seen Jim when he smashed the course record.
9 - If you could host a dinner party with 3 other runners (famous or not) who would they be and why? And most importantly, what would be on the menu?
Got to say:
- Jim Walmsley - Ultra and trail runner form the USA
- Zack Miller - Ultra runner
- Best mate Darren Capps.
The reason is - my best mate always makes me laugh as he is such an idiot! He will stay back and do the cooking while me, Jim and Zack go on a monster training session. Simple! Food wise… BBQ with plenty of IPA and cocktails!