As the Race Director for the Boston Marathon, those in the sport of running are likely to be familiar with Dave McGillivray. After the bombing in 2013, becoming Boston Strong became a symbol for this country. The epitome of professionalism and integrity, perhaps nobody symbolizes what it means to be Boston Strong more than Dave himself (Link to NYTIMES Article).
As a physically fit life-long runner, Dave felt somewhat immune to dietary restrictions. This notion was shattered when he was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Since that diagnosis, he has made big changes in his diet, lifestyle and fitness. At 60 years of age, he is in better shape than he was 15 years ago. His birthday this past week marks a tradition that Dave has done since age 12. He runs his age in miles. As he put it a few years ago, “Talk about dreading your next birthday!”. To put this feat into perspective, his training for this tradition over the summer consisted of running the Boston Marathon route.
Here is an excerpt from his personal page, detailing this experience:
“Had nothing better to do today (yeah, right) so I ran the entire Boston Marathon course this morning as a training run for my coming bday run. Felt great. Weather was great – around 66 at the start and then close to 80 when I finished. First time ever running totally by myself…no other runners, no support vehicle. Actually, didn’t drink anything or eat anything the entire way either. Guess you could say I “broke all the rules” but I really felt great the entire way. I stopped a few times to take a “selfie” when entering the next town and I stopped at the Evergreen Cemetery at 21.5 miles to visit my grandfather’s grave stone. If I didn’t do all these foolish selfies, I might have actually qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon…ha! The business I saw the most of were Dunkin Donuts…never realized there were so many of them along the course. Only saw one person I knew while running through Newton, Wayne Levy, who coincidentally is a member of the BAA Board of Governors…so I guess I can call him my witness! Sometimes it is just easier to do these things quietly without all the added pressure and fanfare but of course it can be a little less exciting!”
When Dave put on his birthday run this year, all friends who were to attend received an Operations Manual. This is the kind of invitation you could only get from…him.. Enclosed were locations of the porta-johns (rented from the company “Dave’s” of course), his custom medals for the participants with his saying “My game, my rules”, catering, and a timeline covering 2am to 4pm. He planned each segment of the journey from start to finish.
Dave has begun entering himself as a participant in his own events.This has given him the opportunity of seeing things from the ground up, a valuable perspective. It has also had the added benefit of keeping him active and begin to reverse the effects of heart disease.
From Dave’s Page: “So the GOOD news is…had my 10-month follow up angiogram procedure today. Was praying for good news and all went great! Dr. Baggish was very pleased and said I made HUGE improvements on my coronary artery disease…like almost 40%! So, all the diet change, supplements and cross training (for Ironman) is really paying off and I am actually REVERSING the disease on my own! The little BAD news is after I was discharged, I was walking out of the hospital and my right wrist just BLEW UP the size of a baseball…I was having a hematoma! So I bolted back into the hospital and now they are keeping me overnight! Ugh, ugh. I am now typing from my hospital bed with one hand! But, who cares…I am reversing this thing as I was determined to do and that is also good news for anyone else with a similar condition! I am suppose to do a triathlon this weekend so I hope this wrist now heals in time!”View his thoughts here in this great article!
Oh that we could all be so positive during a hematoma. That’s Dave..
Dave also has ties here in Naples. One of his good childhood friends is Fran Fidler. He and Fran were part of the MR8 team running Boston this year.You can learn more about the MR8 fund here.
Fran started the Gobble Gobble Four Miler with the now defunct Striders of Southwest Florida in 2001 and brought Dave down here to speak and take part in some of his events. Their friendship has made Naples a better place, inspiring others to follow his path in directing events.The millions of dollars generated by Dave’s charity beneficiaries and sports management team are something that will affect generations to come. The admiration Dave has inspired has spurred others to follow suit, putting on fantastic events and generating millions all around the world. The next time you run Boston or one of his races at DMSE, thank the organizers for putting on the best the sport has to offer. I know I will.Facebook post from “File this under “how time flies”…tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of my 3,452 mile run across America from Medford, OR to Medford, MA finishing in Fenway Park on August 29, 1978 and to benefit the Jimmy Fund of Boston. I was averaging 45-50 miles a day for 80 straight days as a 23 year old. Today I struggle just to do my birthday run for one day only! I so wish I could still do that. So sad to get older but I guess the alternative ain’t so good either. If I had it my way, I’d have us all get to age 50 and then go back in reverse to 49, then 48 all the way to just being born again…that way none of us truly ever gets very old, we live for 100 years and we get a second chance get it right this time at every age (if I only knew then what I know now)!!”
Here are some pictures of him that tell the story better than words.