Head Coaches

Coach Sawchuk- Head Coach Danville Kevin Sawchuk is a physician who has been a runner since age 7. He loves distance and has competed in over 100 ultramarathons and 20 marathons. He has completed the Western States 100 mile race 10 times including three top-10 finishes. He also occasionally competes in shorter races and has a 2:37 marathon PR and 16:39 5K PR. At age 14 he backpacked the John Muir Trail alone and as an adult set the record on the 223 mile trail in 2004. He continues to love training and running as he approaches 50--setting an example as a lifetime runner.

Kevin has coached youth athletes starting with CYO track and cross country in 2009. He loves to share his passion for running with the youth athletes he coaches! Kevin became head coach for CYO XC and the CYO track distance athletes in 2011 and acting head coach of the Danville branch of Oak Hill Racing (now The Mt. Diablo Heat) in 2011. He received his level I USATF coaching certification in January 2012, his level II USATF coaching certification in endurance in July 2013 his level III USATF/Level V IAAF certification in endurance in January 2015. He took the level III USATF/Level V IAAF certification course in Youth Specialization in December 2017. His background in medicine and physiology gives him special insight into the complex issues of growth, development and injury prevention in youth athletes.

Paul McCandless- Head Coach Pleasanton Paul McCandless has had extensive coaching, competitive, and recreational endurance experience. He has completed five 50k runs, multiple 5ks, participated in the 1994 Biathlon National championships, and 2 years of racing Mountain Bikes in the Expert category. In addition, he has climbed a swath of 14,000+ foot mountains in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada. He has also climbed Denali (Alaska), 21,310 ft; Bokra III (China) 18,500 ft; Cotopaxi (Ecuador) 19,346 ft; and the 42 mile Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim 17 hour day hike in the Grand Canyon. As a lifelong practitioner of athletics, Paul continues to participate in Community 5Ks, Nordic ski and biathlon races, and mountaineering.

Paul has been an assistant coach for the Mount Diablo Heat since 2011. In early 2016, as he retired from a 35-year career in Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and had more time for his passion, he started head coaching the Pleasanton Training Group. He received his Level I USATF coaching certification in January 2016, Level II USATF in youth specialization, in July 2017 and Level II in endurance in July 2018. With his background in endurance sports and education in youth development he can help young athletes reach their potential with an emphasis on their long term development and well being.

Coach Singh- Assistant Coach Pleasanton Akanksha Singh is an avid runner who has played sports all her life. She grew up in India and moved to the U.S. in 2001 to complete her studies. She currently works as an architect, with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in architecture. Akanksha has always been very active but was inspired to join the running community by her children and spouse. She joined the Mount Diablo Heat in the summer of 2016 and has fallen in love with running since. In January 2018, she received her Level 1 USATF coaching certification. With a house full of runners, she knows exactly how to advise them, whether it be about training, nutrition, or recovery. Her time around youth sports allows her to offer insight and to guide young athletes in order to help them reach their full potential.