Damian Stoy, vegan ultradistance runner
Ultras and mountains
Ultradistance runner Damian Stoy has been a prominent runner since 2006, with numerous podium finishes and race victories.
He won Grand Teton 50 miler in 2006 then recorded four second places before taking three wins in 2010, two of which were course records on 50 mile courses. 2011 saw him placed in four races including a 50k event. 2012 was a busy year with two second places and wins in a twenty miler and two 50 mile events – one of which was a course record.
He won Antelope 100k in 2013 and in 2014 he won a mountain 50 miler as well as competing at the US National Trail Mountain Championship.
The change to vegan
Damian is proud to have made the change to veganism, a process which started in 2000.
“I originally decided to go vegan for health reasons” Damian told us. “I wanted to see if it would improve my running and it did way more than I ever hoped.”
“I originally decided to go vegetarian in 2000. A few years later I started trying to eat vegan and it worked really well for me. Unfortunately, when I travelled or was with family I would consume products with egg or dairy in them. Since 2008 I have decided to be 100% vegan and have never looked back. I currently consider my diet to be 100% 'whole foods, plant-based'.”
The process was gradual, although when Damian hit full veganism, he noticed the difference. “When I decided to become 'strict' vegan, my energy levels increased, my performance increased and I started recovering quicker. Finally, when I started eating 100% whole foods vegan, I have never had such great health in my life.”
It also affected his thought processes, and Damian is now much more aware about the impact of a non vegan diet on animals and ecology. “The more I learned about veganism, the more I eat this way for health, environmental and animal rights reasons. Being vegan is a huge part of who I am.”
How does a vegan fuel ultras?
Fruit is a large part of Damian’s diet, and he takes up to six smoothies a day. “My smoothies are usually a few bananas, blueberries, flax or chia seed, green leafy vegetables and water.” He also eats a lot of sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa and beans.
With success in the sport, Damian has enjoyed coaching, which draws a variety of responses from clients.
“Many of my clients are vegan (or I help them transition to a vegan diet) and we connect on that level. I am also a nutritional coach with a Certification in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Cambell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell. I help athletes transition and succeed on a plant-based vegan diet. My athletes get amazing results from my coaching as well as eating a healthier, plant-based diet. Rather quickly, I see increases in performance, recovery and health as a result of what I teach. I love what I do!”
However, prejudices exist and Damian’s aware that some clients choose not to be coached by him on the basis of his veganism.
The greatest success?
When we asked him what his greatest achievement in running was, we were surprised that none of his 23 top three finishes, ten victories or three course records were what he mentioned.
“Being injury-free for the past 10 years is my most satisfying achievement. Being injury-free for so long as a runner (let alone competitive ultra runner) is very rare. I attribute my diet as a key role for staying injury-free as well as overcoming chronic running injuries I suffered from in the past. Having run over 35 ultra marathons where I have won 8 of them is something I am very proud of.”
This helps with ongoing plans which include continuing to race. He aims to stay injury free and continue to compete in 4 to 8 ultra marathons a year at a high level of competition for years to come.
No Meat Athlete is a great running resource.
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