If the East Nasties were giving out superlatives, Least Likely to Run a Race would go to Damian Marshall. Wait, what? Does that even make sense? Well, when it comes to Damian, it makes a world of sense. Damian puts up weekly mileage as if he’s training for a marathon. He joins his fellow East Nasty buddies for whatever distance they have on the books, whether it’s 8 miles or 20, despite the fact that he has no intention of running a race. He’s pounding the pavement for no other reason than good friends and good conversation.
Damian was born and raised in Champaign, IL. His running career began at University Laboratory High School – aka Uni High – on the boy’s Cross Country Team. The name of Damian’s game was short distances back then. He placed 11th in the 5k at the 1996 Cross Country State Championship with a mind-blowing time of 15:41. Take a moment and let that sink in. That’s 5:03 pace people. Holy smokes! This same year, he was named Uni High’s Male Athlete of the Year. (And no, Damian did not share these lovely details with me. He’s far too humble to do that. Thank goodness for the power of a good search engine.)
He didn’t stray too far from home when he attended Northwestern University for undergrad, or the University of Illinois for Law school. But four years ago, he headed down south to a little town called Nashville. According to him, he’s working on getting his parents to pay for a fifth year. Our fingers are crossed, Damian!
Damian works as an Equal Opportunity Investigator at Vanderbilt. If a student or employee complains of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, he conducts interviews and assesses what occurred. I’m seeing the next spin-off of Law & Order here guys, aren’t you? Law & Order: HEU (Higher Education Unit, of course).
In the Spring of 2011, Damian decided to join East Nasty for a Wednesday night run. How did he hear of us? He thinks he typed “Nashville running groups” in to Google, but says heck, it could have even been AskJeeves back then. The name East Nasty initially troubled him, but our website looked legit enough - thus an East Nasty Regular was born.
When not running, Damian is watching, reading about, and debating sports. He admits that makes him sound one-dimensional, but says he can’t be all things to all people. Sorry.
Now let’s go back in time to the beginning of this post. Damian is not in East Nasty because he needs training buddies. He isn’t looking for a group to grind out the miles he needs to prepare for his next race. No, Damian is in this purely for the camaraderie (and according to him, the enemies aren’t terrible either). Case in point. One day, a couple years ago, Damian joined fellow East Nasties Greg Kyle, David Canas, and Alonzo Whyte for a 16 miler through Shelby Bottoms. When they finished, Greg asked who might be up for 4 more to make it 20. David and Alonzo had already hit their mileage need for the day, so Greg started to head out solo for the final 4. “Wait, you’re serious?” said Damian, not realizing Greg was actually planning to make it a 20 miler. And just like that, Damian was in. Having had nothing but a single piece of toast that morning, he ran his very first 20 miler on a whim. No plans, no race – just in it to keep his fellow runner company. What a guy!
This ENOW is sponsored by Bud Light Lime. (Not really, but it’s Damian’s 3Crow beverage of choice. You think I’m kidding, but you can’t make this stuff up.)