Double Road Race back in San Juan Bautista

Anzar's head cross country coach Daniel Lowell, left, poses for a photo with assistant coach Izzy Parra. Parra graduated in 2010 and was on the first team Lowell coached at the school. Parra went on to run at Hartnell College in Salinas and then on to the

Daniel Lowell owns his own cleaning business, works as a counselor at a group home in Salinas, coaches the Anzar High cross-country team and is the race director for the Double Road Race in San Juan Bautista on Sept. 20.
Oh yeah, Lowell, a 2005 Anzar graduate and Salinas resident, has a 10-month-old daughter. Somehow, the 28-year-old Lowell manages to stay sane.
“I’m definitely busy,” Lowell said, in what could be the understatement of the year. “I’ve got my wife (Kristin) to thank for being the best partner one could ever hope for.”
The Double Road Race—which is a 10k followed by a 5k with a break in between featuring a recovery zone—was created two years ago by Runner’s World magazine founder Bob Anderson.
Other distances include the 21k (15k followed by a 12k), 12k, 8k and 5k. San Juan Bautista is the eighth of 11 races on the 2014 Double Road Race calendar, which includes races all across the country as well as Greece, Mexico and Kenya.
Lowell said the Double Road Race is growing in popularity to the point where Anderson wants to start holding Double Adventure races, where the races can be any distance on any surface—trail, road or a combination of both.
A former cross-country runner at Anzar, Lowell always had an interest in being a race director, despite his already packed schedule. Lowell actually met Anderson—in 2012 at the age of 64, Anderson ran 50 races all at sub-7-minute mile pace—after responding to an ad on Craigslist.
“It was Bob looking for a race director,” said Lowell, who is also the race director for the Double Road Race in Pacific Grove. “I contacted him and we just went from there. It’s turned out to be one of the best decisions I could’ve ever made. Bob is a visionary and it seems like whatever he touches turns to gold. I see the Double Road Race expanding more and more everyday.”
As a race director, Lowell is in charge of all the logistics, from getting “name” runners in the field, permits from the city and county, and making sure there are enough volunteers to staff the race.
“It’s a lot of time but doable because you can get most of it done through emails and phone calls,” Lowell said. “Even though it’s a lot of work, I enjoy it because it’s a challenge to make sure everything runs smoothly, and when it does, you feel a great sense of accomplishment.”
Lowell also coaches runners on a private basis, including 2010 Anzar graduate Izzy Parra, who ran cross country and track in high school and college (first at Hartnell and then at the University of St. Mary in Kansas).
Parra, who will be one of the race marshals at the Double Road Race, said Lowell has been a steadying influence in his life.
“He’s the reason why I ran at Hartnell, which got me to St. Mary,” Parra said. “He’s been training me ever since I got back to California, and hopefully it prepares me for some fast times and fast races.”
The Double Road Race provides a unique and yet mind-numbing challenge: There’s a 1 hour, 45-minute gap from the start of the 10k to the beginning of the second leg, the 5k. The faster a runner finishes the 10k, the more time he or she will have to wait for the 5k.
“Because you don’t typically run two races in one day, the challenge is how to utilize the recovery zone most effectively,” Lowell said. “I’ve done training runs for a Double Road Race, and during the break I literally kept on jogging to keep my muscles warm and the blood flowing. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is get stiff. So I just kept moving.”
In running, as in life, Lowell is always on the go.
Note: The Double Road Race in San Juan Bautista is one of the fastest courses on the Double Road Race circuit, consisting of mostly flat terrain. The race starts on the historic main street and finishes in front of the Mission San Juan Bautista.
The first leg of the 15k starts at 8:45 a.m., with the second leg, a 5k, starting at 10:30. In addition to the 15k, there is a 5k race also consisting of two legs—a 3k followed by a 2k—that goes off at 8:45 and 10:05, respectively.
The final race, a 1.5-mile kids cup for the 13-and-under age group, consists of a mile leg followed by a half-mile leg, starts at 11:15 and 11:45, respectively. For more information, go to

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