Dave McGillivray

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Dave McGillivray is a U.S.-based 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] Presently he is race director of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Boston Marathon and his team at DMSE, Inc. have organized numerous mass participatory fundraising endurance events since he founded it in 1981.

Athletic achievements[edit]

In 1978, McGillivray ran across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts, a distance of 3,452 miles, ending in Fenway Park in Boston. His effort raised funds for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[2] Two years later, he ran the East Coast Run to benefit the Jimmy Fund, running 1,520 miles from Winter Haven, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts joined by Robert Hall, a pioneer of wheelchair marathoning, raising money for the Jimmy Fund and meeting with President Jimmy Carter at the White House during the run. In 1982, McGillivray 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, Mass.[3] He competed in eight Gatorade Ironman Triathlons from 1980 to 1989, 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.

In 1981, McGillivray ran in the Empire State Building Run Up, an 86-story, 1,575-step run, placing 10th with a time of 13 minutes, 27 seconds. The same year 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 towards Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, ending the course with running three miles alongside inmates within the Walpole State Prison and raising $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.

In 1986, 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]

In 1980, he ran in the Wrentham State School 24-Hour Run, traversing 120 miles in 24 hours throughout 31 cities in southeastern Massachusetts, ending in Foxboro Stadium during the half-time of a New England Patriots football game. Held to benefit the Wrentham State School for the Mentally Retarded, the run raised more than $10,000 for the handicapped.

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 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; the first 16 years as an entrant and since working with the race as its director, has run the course after his duties are completed.[6] 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.

Professional life[edit]

McGillivray created DMSE, Inc. in 1981, a firm which manages mass participatory road race events such as marathons, 10ks, 7-milers and 5ks. He has served as the race director of the Boston Marathon since 1988. In 1998, Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson tapped him to become the first race director of the Beach To Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.[7] Other races McGillivray and his team manage include the Bellin 10K Run in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, Va., the Women's Half Marathon Series throughout the U.S., 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 Run Gloucester! 7-Mile Road Race], the Spring Training Classic (Jupiter, Fla.) and the Run to Home Base (Fenway Park in Boston).[4] In 2003, McGillivray created the DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation to support non-profit organizations that use running to promote physical fitness in children.[8]


  • Race Director of the Year in 2000 - Road Race Management and Running Times Magazine[9]
  • 2005 Running USA Hall of Champions .[10]
  • 2007 Runner’s World Heroes of Running Award .”[11]
  • 2009 Jimmy Award by the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[2]
  • 2010 Fleet Feet Lifetime Commitment to Running Award[12]
  • 2010 Ron Burton Community Service Award, Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association[13]
  • 2011 inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame[14]
  • 2011 marked “30 Years Running” with public event; Boston Mayor proclaimed March 12 DMSE Sports Day in Boston[verification needed]


  1. ^ a b McGillivray, Dave (2006). The Last Pick. Rodale Press. p. 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. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ McGillivray, Dave (February 16, 2012). "Joanie's Interview". Beach2Beacon. 
  8. ^ McGillivray, Dave. "Founder". Non-profit for children. Billy Sheehan. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Wolfe, Jason. "Dave McGillivray Named Race Director of the Year". Wolfe News Wire. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Dave McGillivray Named to USA Triathlon Hall of Fame". Running USA. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Burfoot, Amby (12 July 2007). "Heroes of Running". Runner's World Magazine. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "McGillivray Receives Lifetime Commitment to Running Award". Running USA. Retrieved 2 February 2012. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Vellante, John (19 December 2010). "McGillivray". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 February 2012.