The Showdown Half Marathon 2016 Pace Squad

We're happy to be offering pacers for a variety of finish times to either give you company on that first half marathon, help you accomplish your time goal, or maybe help some veteran runners set a new personal record! We offer more pacers than many races, with goals of finish times in 5 minutes intervals from 1:45 to 3:00.

That means a team of 34 people all dedicated to getting you to the finish!

A Past Pace Squad for The Showdown

2016 Pace Squad Members

Our glorious squad is below. Then scroll down, or click on your goal finish time in the table, and read bios and see pictures about the individuals at your projected or goal finish time who you plan to hang out with for 13.1 miles!

Pace Squad Organizer: Andrew Rose

Pace Squad Leader on Race Day: Brandon Vallair

Pace Time Pacer Pacer
1:45 Cassie Towne Jonathon Celone
1:50 Lea Ivy Andy Li
1:55 Lisa Keener Rick Johnson
2:00 Meghan Klement Cara Johnson
2:05 Larisa Parsons Valarie Fratiani
2:10 Letty Uribe Angela Andrews
2:15 Jill Allison Marisa Sifuentes
2:20 Kelly David Suki Kourounis
2:25 Tara Allgood Kathy Vondracek
2:30 Telander Foster Natalie Baerwaldt
2:35 Christi Crow Ken Lettre
2:40 Katherine Montgomery Gigi Smith
2:45 Belinda Ponce Mariam Taila
2:50 Kate Woodham Pam Pham
2:55 Tom Johnson Chris Higman
3:00 Lillian Bauer Erica Haynes
Floating Pacers Brandon Vallair Curt Metzger




1:45 Pace Team

Cassie Towne

After 7 years of running and dozens of races, Cassie Towne finally got to live out her dream of running the Boston marathon this past April. Although she enjoys full marathons the half is definitely her favorite to race and to pace as well! She has competed in many of the Active Joe races and will return to pacing the Showdown for the fourth year now. Cassie took the RRCA training last September in hopes of being able to not only strengthen her own running but to help inform and motivate others as well. She loves sharing her passion with others and being a part of local community races!




Jonathan Celone

Jonathan only started running four and a half years ago and while he has accomplished a lot of goals along the journey, his favorite one was completing his first half marathon. This distance has since become his favorite and most of his training is geared towards half marathon goals every year. The Showdown half will be featuring a brand new 1:45 pace team and he is thrilled to help others achieve this goal finish time!





1:50 Pace Team

Lea Ivy

Lea has been running consistently for over ten years, and has raced all distances from 5k to 50 miles. She is an RRCA certified running coach with Cooper Fitness Runners-Craig Ranch in McKinney and an active member of Dallas Running Club, where she served as a pace leader for the 3:40 marathon training program for the 2014-2015 season. She has successfully paced several local races at the half marathon distance, and looks forward to pacing many more in the future. She believes in “responsible” running to avoid injury and burnout, and strives to lead by example. Running has brought immense joy and reward to her life, and she loves helping other runners reach their goals. The Active Joe races are topnotch! Please join her for a fantastic 1:50 finish at the 2016 Showdown Half Marathon.


Andy Li

Andy has been a lifelong runner, but took an extended run break until mid 2013. Returning to a sport he enjoyed, workouts came slowly with single mile runs. After joining Excelr8 Running Club, he progressed and started training hard for 5k and 10k events. In early 2015, he completed his first half marathon at The Active Joe's Fairview Half Marathon and it's open his world to endurance running. He went on to race a few more half marathons and his inaugural full marathon at the 2015 Dallas Marathon (due to "peer pressure"). Now, he's working hard to pursue the elusive goal of Boston Qualifying (BQ) to run the Boston Marathon someday. He enjoys all aspects of endurance events from racing, volunteering for race prep, to pacing. Come join him at the beautiful The Showdown Half Marathon course for a fun-filled 1:50 hr finish.

1:55 Pace Team

Lisa Keener

Lisa started running almost 10 years ago after she decided that “YES, she can run” after telling herself that she could never run or be a runner. It was that day that she decided to go for a run with her best friend and has been running ever since! Her first half marathon was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and she has run it 5 different times. Needless to say, it is one of her favorite races along with the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, Canada. She loves destination races because it’s so much fun to meet new friends/runners in person. She has also run several 5, 10 and 15k’s. It is one of her goals to run a Marathon…hopefully in the next year! Running has become a passion for her, she has loved it ever since she started. She loves to inspire and encourage others to run.


Rick Johnson

“I live to run ... but more importantly I run to live.” is Rick’s motto. People always ask him what he is training for when they see him running -- "for life" is his response. He has been married for 30 years and has three wonderful children. Rick has run more than 60 marathons and half marathons. He has been pacing half and full marathons for several years now, and finds nothing to be more more rewarding than helping someone achieve their goal ... and making them laugh all along the way!!





2:00 Pace Team

Meghan Klement and Cara Johnson

Meghan and Cara are two moms that teach high school science and run daily as their therapy session and to support their ice cream and chocolate addictions. You don't typically see an Aggie (Meghan) and a Longhorn (Cara) run together but they have been running partners for over 4 years despite that rivalry (although there may be a little smack talking here and there). During their runs they rarely have a lull in conversation. They always make sure to have fun so spending 13 miles with them is guaranteed to breeze by!






2:05 Pace Team

Larisa Parsons and Valarie Fratiani

Larisa and Valarie are great friends who share a love for running and having fun! Larisa leads the local running group, providing the routes and workouts, while Valarie provides the entertainment. They are enthusiastic about helping others achieve their running goals. Having already successfully paced several friends to PRs, they are excited to be chosen as “official” pacers. Between the two of them they have completed 7 marathons and countless half marathons. Their plan is to make sure the 2:05 pace group has the most fun running 13.1 miles-EVER!




2:10 Pace Team

Letty Uribe

Letty began running when she signed up for her first 10K in November 2012. It was only for fun she told herself then signed up for a few more small local races the following year. In 2014 she joined her gym's run group, Life Time Run where she currently is a Run Lead. After running her first half marathon in October 2014, she instantly fell in love with the 13.1 distance. Thirteen half marathons later (several as a pacer) and 2 marathons in 2016 (one as a pacer), running is her happy place. Pacing has become her passion because she loves giving back to the running community by helping and encouraging runners to achieve their goal! She's looking forward to meeting you this year at Showdown and getting you across that 2:10 finish line!



Angela Andrews

Angela is the wife to an awesome husband and mother to two amazing little girls, ages 3 and 5. She started running from scratch 3 years ago when she was 6 weeks postpartum with her younger daughter. She has never been the athletic type so those first few months were difficult as she built her endurance from 5 minutes to 1 hour. Since then, she has run 9 half marathons and 4 full marathons and recently became an ultra-marathoner when she completed her first 50k! She runs to show her girls that all things are possible if you work hard and because she loves the challenge of crushing a goal. It is her long term goal to qualify for Boston and she is enjoying the process. She is excited to be a pacer because so many other runners have helped me along in my journey and she wants to give back! She can't wait to help you with your 2:10 finish!!


2:15 Pace Team

Jill Allison

Jill Allison started running Half Marathons after her son was born 12 years ago. Since then, she has also ran nine full marathons (with a Boston Qualifying time at Houston 2016), two 50k trail ultras, and is currently training for her first 50 mile ultra in October. She is a very active member of the Allen/McKinney/Plano/Frisco chapter of Moms Run This Town (“MRTT”). Running is her biggest passion (other than her husband and son, of course!), and is enjoying helping other runners achieve their goals. She is very excited about pacing at Showdown, as this and Fairview are her favorite local Half Marathons.




Marisa Sifuentes

Marisa started running in June 2014 when she joined her gym's run club and has since run various 5ks, 10ks, halfs and her first marathon this past January. Running is her therapy and although it is an individual sport she has made many good friends that share the same passion. In her short time running she has also had the opportunity and pleasure of pacing a few races and enjoys that as it gives her a great feeling helping others experience the joy of running. She is very excited to pace Showdown this year and looks forward to running with you to your 2:15 goal!




2:20 Pace Team

Kelly David

Kelly is a long time runner and love helping others work towards their goals – whether it is a distance goal or time goal! She enjoys anything from trail running to obstacle course races. Her favorite distance is the half marathon – such an accomplishment while fun at the same time! She is looking forward to helping you reach your goals at one of her favorite races – the Showdown Half Marathon. Come join her and you can cross the finish line at 2:20 together!






Suki Kourounis

Suki started running in 1976 and has run over 91,000 miles since then. New York City marathon was her 1st marathon in 1986 and she has been unstoppable since then! She ahs ran well over 250 marathons and ultra marathons such as 50K, 50 mile, 100k to 100 mile & 24 hour National Championship races and 7 day International Ultra marathon Festival, LOUTRAKI in Greece in 2006 and ran 534 Km. She was a run group coach at Lifetime Fitness Plano in 2005-2008. Running and fitness has been her passion for most of her life! She is very excited to run with you in Fairview Half Marathon to help you achieve your goal and have a lots of FUN!



2:25 Pace Team

Tara Allgood

Running a Half Marathon is a BIG deal! Tara is looking forward to helping as many people as possible discover the self confidence that comes with finishing a Half! She is a 9 year survivor of Stage 3 Colon Cancer...finding joy everday is important! That is why she runs.








Kathy Vondracek

Kathy has been running for many years and started out with 5 and 10Ks and eventually built up to numerous half and 5 full marathons. Her most memorable marathon was in Anchorage Alaska, which was with Team in Training, this is where she learned more about pacing and the build up to longer distances. She taught aerobics for a number of years and understands about motivating others and how that energy exchange helps everyone participating. She paced the Fairview half in April and met so many wonderful people along the way. Please come and join in the fun for the Showdown half-let’s enjoy the experience together!!



2:30 Pace Team

Telander Foster

Telander is the proud mother of teenage twins. Her kids are her personal cheer squad and love to tell their friends that she is a runner. She started running with the couch to 5k app 3 and 1/2 years ago. She fell in love with running and has not stopped. Her first half marathon was Showdown in 2013. She paced the 2:30 group in 2014 and 2015. Pacing brings her so much joy! Helping you to reach your goal while having a great time and memorable experience is her job! She looks forward to helping you reach your goal!!

Natalie Baerwaldt

Natalie is a proud mother of two amazing little girls and wife to a fantastic husband. Natalie is most excited to pace the Showdown Half Marathon to help others meet their goals. Natalie is a life long runner and has been racing for the past four years. She completed her first marathon with her husband in 2013 and broke the 4 hour mark on marathon #6 at Fort Worth in 2015 (03:59:10). She is currently training for the Houston Marathon in January of 2017. Running is her mental rejuvenation (aka therapy) and 13.1 is her preferred distance for racing or for leisure. Natalie is so excited to see you at Showdown in October with cooler temps!!



2:35 Pace Team

Christi Crow

Christi began running in 2010 after the birth of her 4th child as a means for weight loss. She started with running short distances at the track, but soon grew to love the sport. She began training for her first half marathon in 2012, and signed up for her first marathon while training. She has since completed 8 half marathons, 4 full marathons and several 5k, 10k, and 15k races. Her biggest accomplishment being the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, where she ran in memory of her son Colt Crow who passed away in 2004 at the age of 3 from cancer. The Dopey Challenge consists of 4 races in 4 days with a total of 48.6 miles. She is currently training for the TCS NYC Marathon in Novemeber. Showdown will be her first race to pace. She is very excited to be able to witness others as they reach their goals!


Ken Lettre

Ken picked up running in 1998 after he realized he had to do something to lose weight. Since then he has run 19 full marathons and over 50 half marathons. Ken is an RRCA certified running coach and has been coaching for the past 10 years. Currently Ken coaches a “Galloway” run group in Houston. Ken believes in having FUN while running… and has been known to tell a story or 2 as well as sing during races. (Get your song requests ready!) The bottom-line: He loves to share his love of running with all! Come join Ken for the 2:35 promise land!


2:40 Pace Team

Katherine Montgomery

Katherine made a life decision in 2007 to become a healthier person. She’s ran 18 half marathons, 1 full marathon, several 10ks and 5ks. She’s completed a Ragnar Relay in Colorado (200+ miles,) Ragnar Hill Country Trail Relay, the Texas Independence Relay (200+ miles) two years in a row, and recently won 3rd place in her age group in her first Sprint Triathlon. She’s married, a mom to two very energetic boys and works full time. She LOVES to run. She truly appreciates all aspects of running on trails, on the road and being part of a community of like minded people. She enjoys encouraging runners and looks forward to giving back to the running community. She’s so very excited to be pacing this year!!!


Gigi Smith

Gigi started running in 2014 with a goal of one day completing a half marathon. Gigi trained by herself for the Dallas RNR 2015 and never really committed to running with others until she realized how encouraging and beneficial it was to run with a group. Since then, Gigi has completed multiple 5K's, 10K's, half marathons and her first marathon, OKC Memorial in 2016. Needless to say, she did it with a group of fantastic friends who made the experiences incredibly fun. Gigi has started a run group with her church and looks forward to encouraging others to fall in love with the sport of running. Join her for The Showdown half 2:40 pace and experience the greatness of running with those who thoroughly celebrate the accomplishments of others.

2:45 Pace Team

Belinda Ponce

Belinda Ponce was raised in Fairview and began fast walking and running 3 years ago, when she was asked in 2015 to train for her first half marathon with the Lifetime Group. She currently runs with the Lifetime Group, Cooper Group, and MRC Group. Running has become her passion. She loves to inspire others to run and make them feel that they can "ACHIEVE" their goals. She has completed 8 Half marathons, and 1 marathon. Belinda is looking forward to pacing the Showdown Half Marathon in October 2016.




Mariam Taila

Mariam began running 4 years ago when she moved from a rural setting to McKinney. As a single mom to 4 kids she needed an escape and since her horse was no longer available running became it. In 2014 she completed her first 5k with a friend and from there it all began. Running has become her passion and along the way she has made some wonderful friends who insist she sign up for all these races! And thanks to their persuasion she has completed 18 half marathons, 2 marathons and numbers 5ks and 10ks, and she won't have it any other way. She is active with the McKinney Running Club and Life Time Run.



2:50 Pace Team

Kate Woodham

Kate began running in 2012 to get in shape after having kids. During her weight loss journey, she lost 60 lbs and caught the running bug. Kate was soon running half marathons and ran her first full marathon a year later. She decided she wanted more and jumped into triathlons. Kate completed numerous triathlons ranging from sprints, olympics, X-50, and 70.3 distances. Kate still runs marathons, half marathons, and 5ks along with her triathlons. Her goal in 2017 is to complete a full Ironman triathlon (140.6 miles). Enjoy an easy, consistant paced half marathon with Kate in the 2:50 group at The Showdown!




Pam Pham

Pam started running in 2013 a few months after the birth of her youngest to stay healthy and was soon hooked. Since then, she has completed several 5k, 10k, half marathons and 2 full marathons. Recently, Pam caught the trail running bug and completed the Whispering Pines 54K trail ultramarathon in Tyler, Texas. While not running, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, crafting and strength training. She is beyond excited to help and motivate YOU across the finish line at Showdown.



2:55 Pace Team

Tom Johnson

Tom has been a runner for more than 45 years. It's one of the great "lifetime" sports. Over the years he has competed in races from 5K to 50K and everything in between. He loves that sense of accomplishment you get when setting goals and then working hard to achieve them. It's a fantastic feeling and one he’d love to help you experience too. So, if you're looking to complete your first half marathon or striving to beat the three hour mark, then join him and his good friend Chris Higman at the Showdown Half. They promise to include some laughs, good conversation, lots of encouragement and, who knows, maybe even a PR for you. Let's do this!





Chris Higman

As a former swimmer, Chris has found that running allows him to have fun and talk while he’s doing it. :) He started running about 5 years ago while looking for an exercise he could do that would provide flexibility around his family. He was hooked! Pacing Showdown is always one of his running highlights and he has met so many great people. He looks forward to meeting you at the Showdown Half Marathon!






3:00 Pace Team

Lillian Bauer

Lillian started running in 2012 with a goal of running one full minute without getting out of breath. She fell in love with running and has now run 9 half marathons and one full marathon. Lillian loves racing all distances: 5K, 10K, 15K's, and especially half marathons. Her favorite part of running is the social aspect. She has made wonderful friends through running who have encouraged and pushed her to be better. The feeling of accomplishment after a race is incredible and she can't wait to help you reach your goal this October!




Erica Haynes

Erica picked up running in 2012 with the goal to finish a 5k and never a half marathon. 14 half marathons later she has found myself addicted to the distance. Throughout her running journey she became more active on social media and has met fabulous people who have inspired her to dream big and to just go for it. She wants to return the many favors given to her by helping others reach their target goal and to help them enjoy the beautiful course that The Showdown offers!




Floating Pacers

These are two strong runners who are comfortable running anything from a 1:45 to 3:00. They will fill in for any last-minute problems where a pacer can’t attend (sick, emergency, sick family, etc.). If all the pacers show, they’ll choose which pace team they want to run with to help out those participants!

Brandon Vallair

Brandon is the founder of and the EXCELR8 Running Club, a company that coaches runners of all ages. He quite literally paces runners for a living. As a runner, he races distances from 5Ks all the way to 100-mile endurance trail ultramarathon races. Brandon is a huge fan of giving back to this awesome running community and pace leading is a great way to do it. He looks forward to helping you achieve your goal!







Curt Metzger

Curt began running at the age of 43 in 2010. Encouraged and driven by the runners high and fellow runner friends, he gradually paced himself through a natural progression of race distances. He was never officially "coached", but he owes much credit to others for helping him learn training tips and running knowledge through the years. He is excited to help others realize their dreams and have fun running to a healthy life. Look for Curt as he "floats" through the Showdown Half Marathon running crazies.







Showdown Half © 2011
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This event is in no way affiliated or associated with Red River Rivalry, Red River Showdown, The University of Texas, or The University of Oklahoma.