Victor Ballesteros


What is your age:
Mind of a 14 year old body of a 27 yo., but currently disguised as a 43 yo.

What are your running stats (please provide as detailed as possible – podium placements, etc)
Even though I’ve been a runner all my life, by dumb luck, I only started running ultras since November of ’06, where I surprisingly placed 2nd at the Quad Dipsea. From that point, I’ve gone on to prove that you can make a name for yourself with a total of three 2nd place finishes at the Quad. Other highlights have been: 1st place finishes at Dick Collins Firetrails 50 (first fifty miler/rookie record), Pirate’s Cove 50k (course record), Whiskeytown 50k (old course, cr), Jed Smith 50k & 50, Ruth Anderson 100k, and Silver States 50. As previously mentioned, my true claim to fame is consistency… as in consistently finishing 2nd, with a dozen and counting… Quicksilver 50k, Silver States 50k, Ruth Anderson 50k, Last Chance 50, Marin Ultra Challenge 50k, & most memorably, the 2009 Miwok 100k (first 100k) which earned me a coveted spot at Western States 100 (first 100 miler) where I finished 11th, missing the 10th spot by 23 seconds, but hobbling away with the 2009 Montrail Ultra Cup. Since then, 100 mile finishes have been hard to come by, although for some reason I’ve been able to complete the 165mile Tahoe Rim Trail in a hallucination-induced time of 53 hours… go figure.

What is your favorite ultra that you have competed in, and why?
Western States 100: festival atmosphere, history, competition, and the birth of a business..

What is your educational background?
California College of the Arts/ BFA (design/painting/sculpture/film)

You have an incredibly varied background. Which part of your resume’ translates best to the world of ultra?
Being creative and able to solve problems on the fly.

Is there a race you always turn as inspiration when training?

Is there one portion of your training that you think universally translate to all runners?
The parts where I learn to hurt and remain comfortable.

The Ultra scene is changing rapidly—more money, more sponsors—in your estimation is this improving or hurting the running scene?
Being that I’ve started a business related to the sport (Victory Sportdesign) I’m biased, but I think it can only improve the scene. Some events get bigger and perhaps a bit exclusive due to money and sponsorship influx, but in response to this there will always be the events that remain low key and grass roots. Honestly, I run to run. If there’s a race I can’t get into because it’s grown too big, I just keep moving on.

Describe the moment your realized that Ultrarunning was your true passion?
Running down from Cardiac hill on the last leg of my first Quad Dipsea.

What aspects of your training do you have difficulty with? How do you overcome those mental obstacles?
The hardest thing about training is getting to the run and getting past the first three steps. Scheduling training time is difficult, but somehow it gets done.

Are you technology driven or do you run by feel? Or a combination of both?

There are so many amazing new products available in today’s ultra running world—how much do you explore all of these options? Are you a “keep it simple” person or do you like to see what the new technologies can deliver?
I like keeping it simple with new technology, as long as it offers simplicity. As a designer, I know how important it is to look for clean innovation in anything that compliments whatever you do.

As an elite athlete do you think your training becomes as much a mental exercise as a physical one?
I don’t think anyone needs to be ‘elite’ in order to realize that every kind of physical challenge, to a certain degree, is both mental and physical.

During a race—cuss words or words of encouragement—and how do you use these mental pokes to push it to the next level?
Neither… my mind is pretty empty when I run.

Getting lost out on the trail is no fun but in hindsight is there a time that it happened to you that can be considered humorous now?
Despite a good sense of direction, I often get lost at the drop of a hat. I can’t say that there’s ever been a time where it was funny.

Is there a difference between sports becoming life and sports being part of and enhancing one’s life? In other words, how do your balance your life as an athlete with your life outside of athletics?
When sports become life, it better monetarily support yourself and family. If not, then let it only be an enhancement. I’m pretty luck that I’ve found myself in a place where my work life is running related. Even if it wasn’t, I’d be content running when I can and living life in whatever way life dictated.

What does the next 12 months hold for you? Do you work on a long arc or just take life as it comes?
Take it as it comes…