Meet the Team


Michelle La Sala

President

Michelle has been involved in the sport since childhood, when she started running with her dad in third grade. As a highly competitive high school athlete, she went on to race at the NCAA Division I level for the University of Portland in Oregon. Michelle’s love for the sport has only blossomed since then. With 31 marathon finishes to her name, she has a 2:59 personal best and a few ultra distances under her belt as well.

Michelle’s vast racing experiences have significantly informed her knowledge of the industry and what participants expect out of events. Her dedication to running has spilled over into her professional career, taking on numerous leadership positions at some of the country’s most respected organizations, including her first job working at the LA Marathon. She then moved on to New York Road Runners, where she served the youth-running division of the operation, spearheading the fund-raising efforts of the Team for Kids marathon training group. After working for the Sacramento Running Association, Michelle was promoted to race director of the California International Marathon.

Her deep commitment to quality running experiences and her proven ability to meet the demands of all ages and abilities has inspired Michelle to put her sought-after skills to work by launching Blistering Pace Race Management. 


Kevin Pool

Director of Operations

With a wealth of race management experience, Kevin now takes on the role of director of operations at Blistering Pace. As the organization expands its clientele, his expertise in event logistics is a tremendous asset for our projects new and old.

Kevin began a career in race management in 2009 with the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), where he learned many tricks of the trade under John Mansoor, who was the director of the California International Marathon for 30 years. During Kevin’s four years at SRA, he became the course director, working with Michelle as she took on the job of race director, following Mansoor’s retirement.

Kevin then moved on to a director of operations position at Destination Races, based in Napa. For three years he was instrumental in creating seven wine-country half marathon races across the country. As a critical part of such a unique series, Kevin learned how to execute boutique experiences for runners, joining the wine-festival atmosphere with the race environment.

And as an accomplished competitor himself—he finished 18th at the 2013 Boston Marathon in a personal best of 2:18:59—Kevin appreciates what athletes crave at all kinds of events. He has a knack of visualizing needs and potential trouble spots on any course he encounters to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible for participants of all abilities. Oh, and that race director he met back at SRA? He married her—and now they continue their run together at Blistering Pace.

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Jay Stanwood

Special Projects Manager

Jay has been involved in running for more than two decades. Inspired by his aunt and uncle, who were avid runners, he joined Team In Training while studying in Columbus, Ohio, eventually becoming a team training and group run leader.

Jay’s career took him to Mizuno, where he rose through the ranks and eventually took on the position of Running Brand Specialist Manager, based in Atlanta. It was there that he oversaw a team of product specialists, leading them to drive sales and brand awareness, as well as training the staff to better build customer loyalty through marketing and promotions.

Jay’s hallmark? Attention to detail and the ability to execute complicated projects in an efficient and timely manner. If something needs to be done, Jay will make sure it’s done quickly and correctly. His love of running, combined with his professional attributes, make Jay a huge asset to event planning and execution. And as a private running coach, Jay brings an ability to work enthusiastically and positively with event staff, vendors, participants, and sponsors.

Jay lives in Decatur, Georgia, with wife, Amanda, his son, Henry, and their four-legged friend, Oliver.

Haley Gonzales

Marketing and Partnerships Manager

Haley was bitten by the running bug in 2011 when she watched a friend race at the California International Marathon. The enthusiasm of the spectators there supporting all abilities of runners, plus the enthusiasm of the athletes as they crossed the finish line lured Haley into the running community.

In 2014 she began her foray into the industry as an AmbasSRAdor for the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), which then led to a marketing and community relations position with the organization. Haley then went on to handle marketing for Fleet Feet Sacramento and Davis. She has stayed engaged in the industry by surrounding herself with teams of professionals that enjoy the sport of running and fostering the sense of community as much as she does.

 Haley is also a trainer at BodyTribe Fitness in Sacramento, CA. Her training philosophy is to help people move better and move more. She enjoys focusing on helping runners get stronger and remain injury-free. She spends most weekends hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but when she’s not on an outdoor adventure, Haley enjoys spending time with her three cats.

 Blistering Pace and its clients benefit tremendously from Haley’s hands-on experience and her “FIO” (figure it out) attitude.

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