Dave McGillivray

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Dave McGillivray runs alongside son, Luke, during the celebratory run from Medford, MA, to Fenway Park to commemorate the 40th anniversary of McGillvray's run across America

Dave McGillivray is a U.S.-based road race director, philanthropist, author, and athlete. In 1978, he ran across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[1] He is currently the race director of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Boston Marathon and his team at DMSE Sports, Inc. have organized more than 1,000 mass-participatory endurance events since he founded the organization in 1981.

Athletic achievements[edit]

In 1978, McGillivray ran across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon, to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts. Over the course of 80 days, he ran a distance of 3,452 miles, averaging 42 miles a day. He culminated his cross-America run by running into in Fenway Park in Boston. His effort raised funds for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[2][3]

Dave McGillivray runs across the Mississippi River bridge during his 1978 run across America

In 1980, McGillivray completed several athletic endeavors.

  • His Wrentham State School 24-Hour Run traversed 120 miles in 24 hours through 31 communities in southeastern Massachusetts, ending in Foxboro Stadium at halftime of a New England Patriots game. It was held to benefit the Wrentham State School for the Mentally Retarded, and the event raised more than $10,000 for the handicapped.
  • He ran the East Coast Run to once again benefit the Jimmy Fund. From Winter Haven, Florida, to Boston, Massachusetts, McGillivray ran 1,520 miles and was joined by Robert Hall, a pioneer of wheelchair marathoning. While in Washington, D.C., the duo met with President Jimmy Carter at the White House.
  • He entered his first Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. He finished 14th in the competition, and was the 30th person to have ever completed an Ironman, an individual endurance event consisting of three back-to-back distance events: a 2.4 mile rough, open ocean water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike race and finishing up with a 26.2-mile marathon run He would go on to complete eight more Hawaii Ironmans over his career.

During the following year, McGillivray:

  • Ran in the Empire State Building Run-Up, an 86-story, 1,575-step run. He placed 10th overall with a time of 13 minutes, 27 seconds.
  • Ran the Boston Marathon in 3:14 while blindfolded and being escorted by two guides to raise $10,000 for the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts.[3]
  • He participated in the annual New England Run where he triathloned (ran, cycled, and swam) 1,522 miles throughout the six New England states raising $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund. The event required a run up and down Mount Washington and swimming two miles across Lake Winneapesaukee, both in New Hampshire, as well as swimming one mile from Woods Hole in Cape Cod toward Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, ending the course with running three miles alongside inmates within the Walpole State Prison. He raised $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund.[4] A year later he swam more than seven miles in the Martha's Vineyard Swim, from Martha's Vineyard to Falmouth, Massachusetts, raising funds for the Jimmy Fund and was greeted on the shore by runners such as Alberto Salazar.
  • He formed the first sanctioned running club inside a maximum security institution at Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts. He conducted and ran in numerous distance races inside the prison yard, including completing and winning a full 26.2 mile marathon against inmates.[5]

During the rest of the 1980s, he continued to combine his love of athletic endeavors and fundraising for charity.

  • In 1983, he participated in the Jimmy Fund 24-Hour Swim, swimming for 24 consecutive hours in the Olympic-size Medford High School pool, which totaled 1,884 lengths and covering 26.2 miles (distance of the Boston Marathon), again raising funds for the Jimmy Fund.
  • Also in 1983, McGillivray took part in the Merrimack College New England Bike Ride where he cycled more than 1,000 miles throughout six New England states in 14 days to raise money for a scholarship fund for his alma mater, Merrimack College.
  • In 1986, McGillivray biked again for 24 consecutive hours around a five-mile loop course in Medford, Massachusetts while simultaneously directing the annual Bay State Triathlon being held on the course at the same time. He covered a total of 385 miles, again raising money for the Jimmy Fund.[2]
  • In 1989, he founded the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, an event that has raised more than $5 million a year for the Jimmy Fund of Boston. Each year, nearly 10,000 walkers walk along the famous Boston Marathon course.
Dave McGillivray runs with the TREK team

In 2004, McGillivray and other marathon runners ran across the U.S. following the same path he took in 1978, raising $300,000 for five charities benefiting children. Each year McGillivray runs his birthday age in miles, a tradition he started when he was 12 and realized that running was his passion. McGillivray has also run the Boston Marathon each year since 1973—48 as of 2020: the first 16 years were as an entrant, and 33 during his time as the race's director, running the course after his duties are completed.[6]

In February 2018, he completed the World Marathon Challenge, which consists of seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

As of April 2022, McGillivray has completed 165 marathons.

Professional life[edit]

McGillivray created DMSE Sports, Inc. in 1981, a firm that manages mass participatory road race events such as marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 5-milers, 5Ks, and charity walks. In 1982, when McGillivray was on the Governor’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports, he founded the Bay State Games as a way to bring a statewide summer sports festival to Massachusetts.

Dave McGillivray stands at the start line of the Boston Marathon

He has worked with the Boston Marathon since 1988, first as technical director, and then as race director beginning in 2001.[7] In 1998, Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson tapped him to become the first race director of the TD Beach To Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.[8] Other races McGillivray and his team manage include the Bellin 10K Run in Green Bay, Wisconsin; the B.A.A. Half Marathon/10K/5K; Across the Bay 10K; the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk; the Runner's World Festival & Half; the Mount Washington Road Race; the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race; and as of 2012, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race. DMSE has also created several races, including the Fenway Park Marathon (the first marathon to be run entirely within a ballpark since the 1923 race inside the newly constructed Yankees Stadium that had 38 participants running 115 laps [9]), Run to Home Base (Fenway Park; Boston),[4] Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the Fifty (Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Massachusetts). In 2003, McGillivray created the DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation to support non-profit organizations that use running to promote physical fitness in children.[10]

In 2006, McGillivray wrote “The Last Pick”[1] with writer Linda Glass Fechter, chronicling his childhood as the last pick for team sports because of his small stature, telling readers never to underestimate their own ability to set and achieve goals. The book also covers his life as an athlete and race director. In 2018, he and his co-author, Nancy Feehrer, published the first of their illustrated children's books. "Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination " is a nonfiction story about reaching deep and showing extreme determination in the face of doubt, disappointment, and loss. Their second children's book was published in 2019. "Running Across America" chronicles McGillivray's 1978 run across the contiguous United States. In 2021, they published their third illustrated book, "Finish Strong: Seven Marathons, Seven Continents, Seven Days," which tells the adventure of McGillivray's 2018 World Marathon Challenge adventure.

Dave McGillivray holds his illustrated children's book, Dream Big
Dave McGillivray holds a copy of his illustrated children's book, Dream Big

In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, McGillivray, along with his team at DMSE Sports, were tapped by CIC Health to oversee logistics for mass vaccination sites at Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, Reggie Lewis Center, Hynes Convention Center.[11]

He launched the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation in 2022 to "inspire and empower youth across New England and beyond to increase physical activity, expand literacy, and build community and self-esteem though running, reading, and performing acts of kindness."[12]


  • 1972 Valedictorian — Medford High School (Massachusetts)
  • 1976 Valedictorian — Merrimack College (Massachusetts)
  • 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award — Competitor Magazine
  • 2000 Director of the Year, Running Times Magagine — Road Race Management and Running Times Magazine[13]
  • 2005 Inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions [14]
  • 2006 Christ the Servant Award — Lazarus House, for continuous dedication to the unloved and forgotten who are served by the Lazarus House Ministries
  • 2007 Runner’s World Heroes of Running Award, honoring outstanding individuals from the running community whose achievements and contributions are nothing short of extraordinary[15]
  • 2007 Proclaimed Honorary Citizen — Town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts
  • 2009 Jimmy Award — Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute [2]
  • 2010 Fleet Feet Lifetime Commitment to Running Award[16]
  • 2010 Ron Burton Community Service Award — Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association[17]
  • 2011 Inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame[18]
  • 2011 "One Hundred" list honoring outstanding contributions in the fight against cancer – Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 2011 Marked “30 Years Running” with public event; Boston Mayor proclaimed March 12 DMSE Sports Day in Boston[verification needed]
  • 2012 Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree – Merrimack College (Massachusetts)
  • 2013 Spirit of Giving Award – Ironstone Farms (Andover, Massachusetts)
  • 2013 Dreamfar Breakfast of Champions Award – Dreamfar High School Marathon
  • 2014 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree – Newbury College (Massachusetts)
  • 2014 Back on My Feet Endurance Spirit Award
  • 2015 MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2015 Runner's World "The 50 Most Influential People in Running" list[19]
  • 2017 Road Runners Club of America Distance Running Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2017 Merrimack College Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee[20]
  • 2018 PIGGYs Award — Flying Pig Marathon; Cincinnati, Ohio[21]
  • 2019 Sports Museum Lifetime Achievement Award[22]
  • 2019 Performed on the inaugural TEDx Kenmore Square stage[23]
  • 2020 Medford, OR, declared February 13, 2020, “Dave McGillivray Day” in recognition of his 1978 run from Medford, OR, to Medford, MA.[24]
  • 2021 Old North Church Third Lantern Award recipient[25]
  • 2022 Completed his 50th Boston Marathon[26] (35th run at night after his race director duties were complete) and fundraiser $100,000 for the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation.


  1. ^ a b McGillivray, Dave (2006). The Last Pick. Rodale Press. pp. 1. ISBN 978-1-59486-422-3.
  2. ^ a b c Dana, Farber. "Jimmy Fund". Cancer Fund, non-profit. Dana-Farber Institute. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b Laffey, Kelly (16 June 2011). "The Man You Didn't Know to Thank: Dave McGillivray". Faster Than Forty. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b McGillivray, Dave. "President, CEO". Race Director. DMSE, Inc. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  5. ^ McGillivray, Dave (2006). The Last Pick. Rodale Press. pp. 183–189. ISBN 1-59486-422-5.
  6. ^ Abel, David. "Running Last but not Lease". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 February 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Clerici, Paul C. (2014). Boston Marathon: History by the Mile. Stroud, United Kingdom: The History Press. ISBN 978-1626194755.
  8. ^ McGillivray, Dave (February 16, 2012). "Joanie's Interview". Beach2Beacon.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Patrick L. and Kennedy, Lawrence W. Bricklayer Bill. University of Massachusetts Press, 2017. http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/bricklayer-bill
  10. ^ McGillivray, Dave. "Founder". Non-profit for children. Billy Sheehan. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  11. ^ "He's planned hundreds of runs. Now Dave McGillivray is orchestrating the race to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine". www.boston.com. Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  12. ^ "Home". davemcgillivrayfoundation.org.
  13. ^ Dave McGillivray Named Race Director of the Year, DMSE Sports, retrieved 13 November 2010
  14. ^ "Dave McGillivray Named to USA Triathlon Hall of Fame". Running USA. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  15. ^ Burfoot, Amby (12 July 2007). "Heroes of Running". Runner's World Magazine. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  16. ^ "McGillivray Receives Lifetime Commitment to Running Award". DMSE Sports. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  17. ^ Wolfe, Jason. "Dave McGillivray Receives Ron Burton Award at Gillette Stadium Ceremony". Wolfe News Wire. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  18. ^ "McGillivray to be in Triathlon Hall of Fame". Boston Globe. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  19. ^ "The 50 Most Influential People in Running". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  20. ^ Merrimack College Inducts Hall of Fame Class of 2017, retrieved 12 October 2017
  21. ^ "Flying Pig Marathon". flyingpigmarathon.com. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  22. ^ Dave McGillivray Receives the Sports Museum Lifetime Achievement Award at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner, retrieved 18 January 2019
  23. ^ Defining Moments | Dave McGillivray | TEDxKenmoreSquare, retrieved 2021-06-01
  24. ^ "Bronze Plaque Unveiled to Commemorate the Start of Dave McGillivray's Historic Cross Country Run". www.runningusa.org. Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  25. ^ "Dave McGillivray to be Honored with the Third Lantern Award". www.runningusa.org. Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  26. ^ "Dave McGillivray: What it means to have completed 50 Boston Marathons".


  • Runner's World, by Amby Burfoot, "Heroes of Running: Dave McGillivray: The Leader" -

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-560--12372-0,00.html Link is down

Link is down