Ultra-distance coach and athlete Damian Espinase Nandorfy has always felt an urge to run - preferably through varied, undulating and natural terrain - this urge grew over years, aided by the guidance from elite performance coaches from around the world. After years of solitary training and competition Damian felt the need to engage more with the running community by joining RunAsOne in 2021. In addition to being a RAO athlete he strives to give back to the sport by transmitting the knowledge accumulated over many successful campaigns but more importantly the failures during training and racing.
Damian has enjoyed the success of podium finishes from 42.2km up to 100mile distance races. Actively targeting challenging terrain and conditions Damian’s accolades include Uluru dessert marathon (1st, 2019), Cleland 50km (2nd, 2019), Heysen 105km (2nd, 2019), Kangaroo Island Marathon (3rd, 2018), Five Peaks Ultra 58km 2280m+ (1st, 2020), Brisbane Trail Ultra 100Mile 8000m+ (3rd, 2020), Alpine Challenge 100Mile 7000m+ (3rd, 2021) as well as a personal best of a 76:55 half-marathon in 2022.
With success comes failures. Damian has suffered challenging injuries from ripped hamstrings, crushed vertebrae to herniated discs and chronic sciatica he has learned to value consistent modest training rather than epic Strava posts to better achieve one’s dreams. The snail really does win the race in Ultra.
Unlike shorter road races, steep terrain and ultra-distances can present athletes with new variables to consider. The importance of race-specific nutrition, hydration, navigation and pacing strategies increases exponentially during long-haul races. Damian’s coaching philosophy focuses on building the highest level of overall fitness possible while perfecting race specificity and accumulating the “1%ers”, culminating in drastic reductions of race times. Using these approaches Damian has learned to shaved hours off race times year on year.
As race distance and time-on-feet increases physical fitness – although very important – succumbs to the importance of mental fitness. Damian is a long-time practitioner of meditation of various traditions and explorer of phycological training techniques, both of which can have a dramatic influence on life within and outside of sport.
Damian works as a senior scientist at a local R&D institution in Adelaide and spends rest days with his rescue greyhounds.
Bachelor of Science Honors (first class standing), Brock University
Postgraduate certificate sensory and consumer science, University of California Davis
PhD candidate School of exercise and nutrition, Deakin University
Level 1 recreational running coach