Inside Trail Racing Team

Meet the Inside Trail Racing Team and Ambassadors. Team ITR is a group of endurance runners who are passionate about trail running and making a difference within our close knit community. The Inside Trail Racing Team is made up of elite runners throughout Northern California. You’ll see ITR team shirts at the front of many big name events around the country. They are active in the community, regularly volunteer at races, coach and inspire others. All of us run for the love of the outdoors and to enjoy the beauty of our stunning West Coast trails. We will post upcoming races, results, race reports, pictures and other useful information on this page and the ITR blog. If you see us out on the trails, stop and say “Hi!”

VICTOR BALLESTEROS

Victor Ballesteros

          Photo courtesy of Brett Rivers/SFRC

Victor Ballesteros was born in Vicksburg Mississippi (which some say was his mother’s lazy inspiration for naming him) at the age of seven, his family transplanted to Novato, California and he’s been a NorCal boy ever since. Fortunately, he wasn’t born in Cali or we would have all come to know him as Nova.Although he’s never been a stranger to running, by dumb luck he started running Ultras since November of 2006. By placing 2nd at his first Ultra, the Quad Dipsea, he’s gone on to prove that you can make a name for yourself with most (3) 2nd place finishes at a single event.

Victor’s highlights since 2006 have included wins at Dick Collins Firetrails 50 (first fifty miler-rookie record), Pirate’s Cove 50K (course record), Whiskeytown 50k, Jed Smith 50K, Ruther Anderson 100K and Silver States 50.  Most recently he’s had the honor and distinction of completing the Tahoe Rim Trail 165 miles in a hallucination-induced time of 53 hours.

This will be Victor’s second year racing with ITR and when he’s not working, running, eating, drinking, sleeping, or hanging out with his beautiful wife, Jena, you can catch him playing around the Bay Area with his Funk/Rock band, Voodoo Switch, or selling Victory Bags (racing/gear/drop bags) with his company, Victory Sportdesign.

BRENDA BLINN

Brenda Blinn

  Photo courtesy of Facchino Photography

Profession: Environmental Scientist at CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Hometown: Nova Scotia, Canada

Present town: Napa

Family: My husband, Von. My “kids” include two dogs, Sophie (my wonderful running partner/coach) and Jake, and three Arabian horses, Belle, Beau and Sierra Sky.

Years Running: Since 2000, but racing since 2009

Proudest Running Achievement: Qualifying for Boston on my First Marathon

Top Bucketlist Event: Badwater – I love the desert.

Greatest lesson that running has taught you: Freedom, Confidence, A Sense of Accomplishment and A Way to Continually Challenge Myself.

Favorite Bay Area running trail: All Trails in the Marin Headlands

Other sports / hobbies: Horseback Riding, Mountaineering (I love the 14ers), Hiking, Backcountry Camping, Traveling, Kayaking, Birdwatching, Reading

Fun or interesting personal fact:
Although I can be quiet and introspective, I’m an intrepid adventurer and ardent conservationist. My job now involves a lot of time at a desk, but, I’ve experienced some wild and amazing adventures as a field biologist. I’ve conducted research in South Africa, traveled through seven southern African countries on an “overland” camping trip, done safaris on foot, gone sky-diving over the Namib desert, and white-water rafted the Zambezie River. I’ve spent months at a time at remote research stations, boating on offshore islands in places like the Bay of Fundy in the Atlantic (which has the world’s highest tides). I then experienced the beautiful landscapes of California- the desert, mountains, valleys, and then, since 2007… the wonderful Bay Area.

CHRISTINE CHAPON

515Christine was born and raised in France and is a former molecular biologist. As a teenager, she had  an aversion to the sport of running and hid during PE classes to avoid the monotonous laps her teacher demanded the class run around the yard. It was only after she graduated college and undertook a summer internship that she was acquainted with trail running and learned to embrace and enjoy the dedication it requires. It is understandable that Christine’s first outing left her daunted by the concept of a continuous 45-minute run and even more overwhelmed when a hill stood in the way after not participating in any physical activity since her infamous adolescent PE evasion days. Not knowing the route necessitated she keep running to stay with her companions and not get lost and despite her inability to freely move for a week following her “epic” run, she had caught the bug.

After college and the internship at a computer research lab, she moved to Boston, MA where she met her husband, Alan Korman, with whom she now has a son, Jules, a high school junior. It was in Boston that Christine discovered people partake in near-unthinkable events, such as marathons, yet assured her friends it was an activity she’d never undertake. Little did she know that only 4 years later would she register for the Paris Marathon in 1993, just one month before the day of the race. Not having trained for (or really contemplated doing) a marathon, weekly mileage, tapering, fueling and hydration were not considered, and only having a routine of two weekly runs, it’s shocking she finished the race and without an injury.

In 1993, Christine and her husband moved to Boulder, CO and being more familiar with running, she joined the Boulder Road Runner Club which cultivated her running knowledge and assisted in developing her adoration for trail running. When she finally arrived in the Bay Area in 2000, she was recruited to run with the cross-country team Skyline Junior College out of San Bruno. Though, Christine was in her early 40s, there was no age limit to compete on a JC team and hers went on to win the league championship.  Since then, she’s continued running cross-country with the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders and has been exploring all of the beautiful trails in the Bay Area while also increasing her distance to run more marathons and 50ks.

A significant aspect of Christine’s running activity is devoted to youth-coaching and contributing to the community. She relishes passing along her passion of running to younger generations and has even acquired her USATF Level 1 and RRCA marathon coaching certifications. She is the coach for Piedmont Middle School cross-country and track as well as for Piedmont High School as well as the Volunteer Coordinator for the SF North Face Endurance Trail Challenge and Oakland Running Festival. Christine is also a volunteer for Running for a Better Oakland, a non-profit that prepares under-served youth to participate in the Oakland Running Festival(5k, 10k & Half-marathon). She used to be the Volunteer Coordinator for a different non-profit program, Students Run Oakland, and ran with the kids in the LA marathon for eight consecutive years, cherishing those races more than any of her own PRs.

What Christine enjoys most outside of giving back, is the trail running community with its simplicity and camaraderie, scenic views and less crowded venues. Her favorite races include the Quad Dipsea, Quicksilver 50k, and Golden Hill marathon. Her favorite ITR race is Rodeo Valley and Mt. Tam. She is eternally grateful to her husband, who has bravely accepted her annoying habit of disappearing every weekend for many hours and appreciates her son, who also runs cross-country, for waiting for her from time to time when they train together.

CATRA CORBETT

Catra Corbett

Name: Catra Corbett

Profession / Day Job: Sales/ customer service whole body dept. whole foods market. Trailrunner

Personal Website / Blog URL:http://trailgirl.blogspot.com

Home town: Fremont Ca.

Present town: Fremont ca./ Ohlone wilderness trail

Family: My furry son Truman Trumie aka Dirt Doxie

Years Running:16

Proudest Running Achievement:Yo Yo record on the John Muir trail 424 miles 12 days 4 hours 57 min. But really I have so many it was hard to choose

Top Bucketlist Event: UTMB, Spartathlon and going for the woman’s record on the 2600 mile Pacific crest trail

Greatest lesson that running has taught you: That I have no limits and can do whatever my mind wants to do.

Favorite Bay Area running trail: Ohlone Wilderness trail I live 1 mile from the trail head and can run 32 miles out and only cross one road. It’s remote and that’s what I love about it

Other sports / hobbies: Fastpacking, hiking, orienteering, yoga, Rockclimbing and weigh workouts.

Fun and/or interesting personal fact that most of your running friends don’t know about you: I have run 100 miles 88 times and hope to finish my 100th mile run of 100 miles by the end of the year. I climbed El Cap. I am the only person I am aware of who has run 100 miles and did a rock climb in the middle. Mile 57 of a solo hundred in Yosemite I climbed the Nutcracker 5 pitch route 5.8 climb total time 38 hours.
First person and only person who has run 100-131 miles on the Ohlone wilderness trail finishing my race with the Ohlone 50k race will be going for my 10th finish this year.
Marathon Des Sables finisher in 2003.
On the team of first woman to run Tahoe rim trail 165. 2001 72 hours. Hiked the Pacific crest trail 2007. Second fastest woman’s John Muir trail 212 time 5 days 5 hours 55 min.
I have fastpacked the John Muir trail 9 times all under 8 days.
I will be going for the woman’s unsupported record this Summer. Pushing for a time of under 6.5 days.
I spent one night in jail for selling drugs and became scared straight. Got clean and sober and eventually found a new addiction. Without having been a drug addict and alcoholic none of you would know me. Life was suppose to happen this way to bring me to where I am now.
Love life, Live Life

SCOTT DUNLAP

Scott DunlapHailing from Eugene, OR (Track Town, USA!!), Scott Dunlap is a proficient ultrarunner and triathlete, mostly known for running with his camera and capturing photos (lots of them) for his award-winning blog, A Trail Runner’s Blog. Though only adopting trail running as necessary life component just 11 years ago after breaking the complacency of the cubicle and realizing he was missing out on some fresh air, he has since gone on to be named 2010 USA Track & Field Masters Ultrarunner of the Year. Scott has also won national Masters titles in events ranging from the 10-mile to the 100-mile (yes, he was taking pictures the whole time).

Scott currently resides in Woodside, CA with his wife, two young girls, Sophie Jane (6) and Quinn (2), and his various animals. He works as Managing Director for Tenth Dimension Design Labs (ie, tech nerd) and enjoys participating in most any outdoor activity, especially if he can bring his girls and his pug, Ace. This swift athlete’s other time is spent playing the piano, writing screenplays, playing in Lake Tahoe, and eating (another impetus for his commencement in endurance sports).

Scott’s running experience has imposed the lesson that “There is no such thing as work/life balance, only life balance.” He is a friend and reporter of many well-known, elite trail runners across the nation and is adept at halting the seriousness of competition with humorous commentary. Atop his bucket-list is participating in the Pikes Peak Marathon in 2013 which he is eager, excited and expertly prepared to take on.

Seemingly a “Jack of all trades”, it is fitting that he still gets royalties from a country song he wrote in 1993, the only evidence of his musical studies in college. Oddly, Scott isn’t really a fan of country music.

CHRIS EIDE

Chris EideChris is a Patent Attorney, working mostly with electronic and software technologies, and currently lives in Palo Alto, CA with his wife and two children (boy 8, girl 6). Though his running career has been brief (he only began running 4 years ago), it has also been prolific and rewarding. Chris’s impetus for embracing trail running originated as a way to efficiently obtain a cardio session during his lunch breaks. He’d hit the treadmill in the gym below his office building for 30-45 minute pops. Eventually, he began running some of the trails located near his house in the Palo Alto Baylands on the weekends. It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that Chris actually ran over 5 miles. He rapidly discovered that he enjoyed running for hours, a pleasure that most runners come to feel once they get started. Just as briskly as he made the conversion from treadmill jogger to endurance runner did his strength and athletic ability reach elite heights.

It hasn’t been a solitary effort as Chris’s family has been his biggest advocate and greatest supporter. His wife, Christina, has been incredibly understanding and flexible regarding his running endeavors and goals. She crewed for him during his first 100-miler, the Cascade Crest 100. Although he was in a pretty fatigued, haggard state at the 53 mile aid station, she remained strong and resolute, the iron frame he needed to use to pick himself up again. Christina kicked Chris back out on the trail. Without her tough love and presence, he might not have finished the race. Although he missed the 24-hour mark, he felt that he was resilient and stepped back from the precipice of resignation and finished strong. Completing this race has been his proudest running achievement thus far–he is still processing the experience 6 months later.

Atop Chris’s bucket list used to be the Western States 100, and though still very interested in running the event, he’s replaced the first slot with the HURT 100-miler. After following ITR family member, Ken Michal, through his recent journey and subsequent conquering of HURT, his intrigue has intensified. Other big races Chris is planning for this year include Quicksilver 50 and the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. He is also in the lottery for Cascade Crest 100 again and, of course, a good number of ITR races.

Some of Chris’s favorite Bay Area running parks are the Palo Alto Foothill Park and Huddart Park. He enjoys running from his house, through Woodside, up through Huddart, down Purissima, and to the beach at Half Moon Bay. He calls this run “Baylands-to-Sea” and he typically meets his wife and kids over there for lunch and some beach time.

Other sports and hobbies he digs are weightlifting and hockey. He’s been lifting weights since high school and he doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon, even if it means carrying around a bit more muscle bulk than is necessary during his runs. He also played hockey in high school and is still a steadfast fan, making sure to attend a fair share of Sharks games.

The greatest lesson that running has taught Chris, in his own words, is to “take what the day gives you.” That is a lesson for everyone to honor.

LUKE GARTEN

Luke GartenProfession: Heavy Equipment Mechanic at a Caterpillar Dealership

Hometown: Grass Valley, California

Present town: Auburn, California

Family: I am married to my beautiful wife and we have an amazing 5 year old daughter. Without the support of my family, I would not have the ability to train for this demanding sport.

Years Running: 3 and a half years

Proudest Running Achievement: First place at 2012 Rock’n River 50 miler.

Top Bucketlist Event: Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

Greatest lesson that running has taught you: I am lucky to live in a place with so much beauty. I wouldn’t have seen any of it without trail/ultra running.

Favorite Bay Area running trail: Woodside is the best Bay Area trails I have been on. The best northern California trail I have run on yet was running from Squaw Valley ski resort to Boreal ski resort. It was about 30 miles with 6300 ft of gain on the Tevis Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/209948912

Other sports/hobbies: Road cycling and completing centuries and double centuries. Also snowboarding.

Fun or interesting personal fact:
When I was in high school I used to make fun of my friends who ran cross country and track. I hated running and thought it was very boring. Little did I know how much fun I could have doing it.

GARY GELLIN

Gary GellinAfter 15 or so years of mountain and road bike racing and touring, I discovered trail running. At first, running was a way to stay fit in the winter or when traveling, and I frequently described myself as a “cyclist with a running problem”. In early 2008, I ran a 10k trail race with Pacific Coast Trail Runs and have been hooked on running and racing on trails ever since. My love for mountains and trails, meeting new friends, and exploring new limits has kept high my motivation in this sport.

The words of wisdom from others which I heed most are “speed kills”. I do a small amount of fast running when training and fit in enough short races throughout the year to stay sharp. Weekly mileage is a pretty consistent 50 of hilly trails at a moderate pace. Lately, what seems to work well is to run long (2-1/2 or more hours) every other day with a short run or bike ride.

JONATHAN GUNDERSON

Jonathan Gunderson 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

MICHAEL JIMENEZ

Michael Jimenez
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RYAN NEELY

Ryan Neely
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

KIMBERLY O’DONNELL

Kimberly O'Donnell

   Photo by Michigan Bluff Photography


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CRAIG SCHMIDT

Craig Schmidt
Profession: Wellness Account Coordinator – Consult with corporations on wellness culture

Hometown: Annapolis, MD

Present town: Peninsula

Family: Kira, 9 year old red Siberian Husky

Years Running: Working on my 16th Year!

Proudest Running Achievement: So many to choose from. Individually was my sophomore year in High School where I dropped 20 seconds off my mile PR and missed qualifying for our state meet by one place! Post scholastic running it would have to be qualifying for USA Half Marathon championships in Duluth Minnesota. I was coming off an injury and my performance was not that good but it was an amazing experience and met some amazing people.

Top Bucketlist Event: Transvulcania & Mt. Fuji

Greatest lesson that running has taught you: To be patient, challenge myself and enjoy life. Who doesn’t want to have it all at once and reap the glory but you really do need to put in the work. I’m still fine tuning my training every season, learning new things about my fitness as well as my limits. I take everything from running and find ways that I can integrate it into my everyday life. Running is my downtime where I can run and think about nothing or get creative and brainstorm some pretty crazy idea’s on the trails

Favorite Bay Area running trail: There are so many great trails around and I have yet to run them all. Currently still looking for my favorite, got any idea’s or want to show me some new ones?

Other sports / hobbies: You name it! Surfing, Soccer, Baseball, Snowboarding, Concerts, Long walks on the beach, Traveling, Landscaping

BOB SHEBEST

Bob Shebest

   Photo by Michigan Bluff Photography



♦ Bachelor’s & Master’s in Education, University of Connecticut / Graduate work in Sport Psychology

♦ Endurance Sports Coach since 2007

♦ 2013 Tahoe Rim Trail 100mi Champion, Four-time Hawaii Ironman Competitor (10:16/2002, 9:54/2004, 9:35/2007, 9:40/2011), 9:24 Ironman PR (Full Vineman 2011), Three-time Boston Marathon Competitor (2:39/2000 & 2002), 2006 Full Vineman Champion, Ten-Time USA Triathlon All-American, Three-Time Tahoe Rim Trail 100mi Run Competitor (22:45/2009, 19:57/2010, 18:04/2013)

♦ Self-Coached for 16 years

♦ Grade Six Math & Science Teacher, Windsor Middle School

♦ United States Navy Diver

JACOB SINGLETON

Jacob Singleton

   Photo by Michigan Bluff Photography


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SARAH LAVENDER SMITH

Sarah Lavender Smith
Sarah Lavender Smith, 43, took up running at age 25 and switched from mostly road to trail running in her mid-30s. She lives in Piedmont and is the proud mom of a 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. She works with her husband in marketing their start-up business, a litigation graphics firm, Cogent Legal, and she’s a freelance writer for Trail Runner and other publications. She blogs about her twin passions of travel and trail running at The Runner’s Trip, a blog inspired by a year that she and her family spent traveling around the globe and participating in several trail-running events along the way.

Profession: Communications Director for Cogent Legal, Freelance Writer, Mom of Two

Personal Website: http://TheRunnersTrip.com

Hometown: Ojai, CA

Current Town: Piedmont, CA

Family: Husband: Morgan, Daughter (age 14): Colly, Son (age 11): Kyle, Dog: Teddy

Years Running: 19

Proudest Running Achievement: First Sunday in March, 1994, when I ran three miles for the first time (my first “real” run ever), and I never stopped running consistently since then except for pregnancy or injury.
Top Bucketlist Event: Grand to Grand Ultra (seven-day, 168-mile self-supported in Sept 2012)

Greatest lesson that running has taught you: Humility

Favorite Bay Area running trail: Sequoia Bayview/Joaquin Miller Park/Oakland, CA

Other sports / hobbies: Riding horses and cooking

Fun or interesting personal fact:
I hated running until my mid-20s and was a heavy smoker in early adulthood

CAREN SPORE

Caren Spore

    Copyright 2012 – Bob MacGillivray

Caren is a driven ultrarunner and boasts a resume that most of her peers would be proud to own. She is the holder of numerous course records including one for the famed Quad Dipsea, as well as one for Golden Hills Marathon, Mt Diablo Marathon, and Pacifica 30K. She has finished in the top five of Western States every year she has run it and can boast a sub-twenty hour finish in that prestigious event.Both modest and shy, Caren will not brag of her running accomplishments, even when pressed to do so. Instead, she will deflect the attention towards what she is most proud of: her two teenage children and her small business. When she is not mothering Kelby and Taryn, Caren practices massage therapy. She has been doing so for nearly twenty years and is the owner of Massage By Caren. She is the go-to therapist in Davis, CA for deep tissue and sports related massage.

In addition to her successes as a mother, a small business owner, and an ultrarunner, Caren has previously found success as a professional road cyclist and in Tai Kwan Do, a sport in which she holds a black belt. She also is an avid backcountry skier and mountain climber.

DONNA TAM

Donna TamProfession: Engineering Program Manager

Personal Website: http://www.attackpoint.org/log.jsp/user_10657

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Present town: San Jose, CA

Family: Amazing parents Leon & Maria and 2 awesome younger brothers, Derek and George

Years Running: 11

Proudest Running Achievement: running my first road marathon (San Diego) on a whim back in 2004 and qualifying for the Boston marathon in the same race!

Top Bucketlist Event: Complete my first 50K trail race this year!

Favorite Bay Area running trail: Rancho San Antonio and Huddart Park

Other sports/hobbies: Tennis, cooking, baking, eating, laughing and constantly learning.

Fun interesting personal fact:
Pizza and wine is always my pre-race or pre-monster run meal. Sponsored by ClifBar.

Running has taught me how to respect and listen to my body (I am asthmatic). Being able to run and race well is extremely rewarding, but the greatest feeling and most priceless moments are when I can share the sport and inspire others to have that “ah-ha or whoo-hoo” moment.

CHRISTOPHER WEHAN

Christopher WehanChristopher Wehan is a bicycle product manager for Specialized Bicycles. Growing up in Santa Clarita, CA with his brother and sister, he didn’t venture far from the sunny beaches of California as he now resides in the beautiful town of Santa Cruz with his girlfriend, Melanie Michalak.

Christopher has been running a good majority of his life–he began when he was just 8-years-old and he is now a wicked fast 30-year-old. Having such a long and intimate history with running, he has found the greatest lesson learned to be humility. His proudest running achievement was finishing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI in 2009. The race that he’s marked as his top bucket list event is the same for most trail ultra-runners, the Western States 100.

One of Chrsitopher’s favorite running trails in the Bay Area is Wilder Ranch Bluff’s Trail. When he’s not zipping around the hills on his two legs, he can be found zipping around the hills on his bicycle. He also enjoys fly fishing and backpacking.

Melanie, Christopher’s long-term girlfriend, once had to rescue him during a race when he started to become hypothermic. In an effort to warm him up, she traded her dry clothes for his wet ones. He ended up finishing the run in her clothes while she rode her bike next to him donning his wet ones.