Featured in BOSTON, the first-ever feature-length documentary film about the world’s most legendary running race – the Boston Marathon.
Dave McGillivray, Founder
Race director, philanthropist, motivational speaker, accomplished athlete. Dave McGillivray is a professional with a purpose.
From his extraordinary 1978 run across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to serving as technical director then race director of the BAA Boston Marathon since the 1980s, McGillivray has helped organize more than 900 mass participatory events since founding DMSE Sports in 1981, while raising millions for worthy causes close to his heart.
Here are a few of his many career highlights:
In 1978 and over the course of 80 consecutive days, McGillivray ran across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon, to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts, covering a total distance of 3,452 miles. He finished to a standing ovation of 32,000 fans in Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. His effort raised thousands of dollars for the Jimmy Fund, a charity that supports research toward eliminating cancer in children.
The 1980 East Coast Run to benefit the Jimmy Fund consisted of 1,520 miles from Winter Haven, Florida, to Boston, Massachusetts. McGillivray was joined by Bob Hall, one of the pioneers of wheelchair marathoning, and raised thousands of dollars for the Jimmy Fund. He also met with then-President Jimmy Carter at the White House during the trek through Washington, D.C.
In 1980, McGillivray competed in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, the premier individual endurance event in the world. He finished 14th overall and was only the 30th person to have ever competed in an Ironman. The Ironman consists of three back-to-back distance events: a 2.4 mile rough, open ocean water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike race, and finally finishing up with a 26.2-mile marathon run. He completed the event again in 1983-1989 and 2014, for a total of nine times.
The Wrentham State School 24-Hour Run was designated as the "Run for Our Dreams Marathon." In 1980, this run traversed 120 miles in 24 hours throughout 31 cities within southeastern Massachusetts, ending in Foxboro Stadium during half-time of a New England Patriots football game. Held to benefit the Wrentham State School for the Mentally Retarded, this particular run raised more than $10,000 for the handicapped.
1981 brought an invitation to participate in the Empire State Building Run-Up. The course consists of 86 stories, 1,575 steps, 1050 feet in elevation, 40" stair height. Finished 10th place overall in a time of 13 minutes, 27 seconds.
His 1981 New England Run was a triathlon (running, cycling, and swimming) of 1,522 miles throughout the six New England states. He raised $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund. Unusual segments included running up and down Mount Washington and swimming two miles across Lake Winneapesaukee, both in New Hampshire. In addition, highlights included swimming one mile from Woods Hole toward Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and running three miles with inmates inside Walpole State Prison.
Officially completed his New England Run by swimming more than seven miles from Martha’s Vineyard to Falmouth, Massachusetts, again raising more money for the Jimmy Fund. McGillivray was greeted by thousands on shore including some of the world’s greatest runners, including Alberto Salazar.
In 1982, McGillivray ran the Boston Marathon in 3:14 while blindfolded and escorted by two guides to raise more than $10,000 for the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts..
He traded his running shoes for swimming shorts in 1983 for the Jimmy Fund 24-Hour Swim. He swam for 24 consecutive hours in the Olympic-size Medford High School pool, swimming a total of 1,884 lengths and covering 26.2 miles (distance of Boston Marathon), again raising funds for the Jimmy Fund.
Over the course of 14 days in 1983, he bicycled more than 1,000 miles throughout six New England states to raise money for a scholarship fund for McGillivray's alma mater, Merrimack College.
In 1986, he formed the first sanctioned running club inside a maximum security institution at Walpole State Prison. He also conducted and ran in numerous distance races inside the prison yard, including completing and winning a full 26.2 mile marathon against inmates.
Also in 1986, he biked for 24 consecutive hours around a five-mile loop course in Medford while simultaneously directing the annual Bay State Triathlon, which was being held on the same course at the same time. He covered a total of 385 miles, again raising money for the Jimmy Fund.
In 1988, he became the Technical Director of the Boston Marathon, and in 2000 (for the 2001 race), he was named Race Director. He manages and oversees all technical and operational aspects of the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world.
McGillivray’s many endurance events for charity are legendary, including running 120 miles in 24 hours thru 31 Massachusetts cities; an 86-story, 1,575-step run up Empire State Building in 13 minutes and 27 seconds; and running, cycling and swimming 1,522 miles thru six New England states while raising $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund.
In 2000, he was chosen as Race Director of the Year by Road Race Management/Running Times Magazine.
That same year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by Competitor Magazine for more than 30 years of service to the sport of road racing and triathlons.
In 2003, McGillivray created the DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation to support non-profit organizations that use running to promote physical fitness in children and help solve the epidemic of childhood obesity.
In 2004, McGillivray and a team of veteran marathon runners journeyed across the country following the same path he took in 1978. Trek USA raised more than $300,000 for five charities benefiting children.
The race director of the Boston Marathon as well as an accomplished runner, McGillivray has run the marathon each year since 1973. For 16 years he ran it with all the other runners and since he began working with the race in 1988 he has run the course afterwards.
His 2006 book, The Last Pick, which he co-wrote with Linda Glass Fechter, chronicles his childhood and career as the last pick for team sports because of his small stature, motivating readers to never underestimate their own ability to set and achieve goals. Order here on Amazon.
In 2009 he was awarded the prestigious “Jimmy Award” from the Jimmy Fund of Boston for his 30-year association and his work with helping to raise money to fund cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
A skilled motivational speaker, McGillivray has displayed his signature ability to engage and inspire listeners to more than 1,600 audiences from corporate executives to high school students.
McGillivray has received numerous awards – valedictorian at both his high school and college, 2005 Running USA Hall of Champions, 2007 Runner’s World Heroes of Running Award, the 2010 Fleet Feet Lifetime Commitment to Running Award, 2010 Ron Burton Community Service Award, the 2011 Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center's 2011 100 list, inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2011 and also received the prestigious "Jimmy Award" by the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for 30 years of contributing time and expertise to help raise millions for cancer research and treatment. In 2015, he received the MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Running by Runner's World - tied for 6th place.
In 2017 he was inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Long Distance Running Hall of Fame, joined by Ryan Hall, Desiree Linden, and George Hirsch.
In 2018, he completed the World Marathon Challenge: seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
McGillivray has logged more than 150,000 miles, most for charity, raising millions for worthy causes. He’s completed 155 marathons, which include 46 consecutive Boston Marathons (with 31 run at night after his race director duties are fulfilled).
In 2018 he published his first children's book, Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination, co-authored with Nancy Feehrer. The illustrated book is based on his 2006 autobiography, The Last Pick. Dream Big may be ordered here on Amazon.
His personal bests? Marathon: 2:29:58 and for the Ironman: 10:36:42.
Each year he runs his birthday age in miles, starting when he was 12, and has not missed one yet. He was born on August 22, 1954 – you can do the math.
McGillivray, DMSE Sports and his DMSE Children’s Foundation have raised more than $50 million for various charities, including: The Jimmy Fund, Carroll Center for the Blind, Cystic Fibrosis, Lazarus House, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, Massachusetts Special Olympics, Moth- ers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Muscular Dystrophy Association, Sports Museum of New England, Wrentham State School.
Schedule a Speaking Engagement
If you would like to request Dave for a speaking engagement, please fill out the form below and one of our staff members will get back to you.