I AM LIVING IT
Ever wondered what life would be if running was your passion and your profession! Meet Dave McGillivray who feels, running never changed his life, because it is his life. Dave is the owner and founder of DMSE Sports, Inc. in Boston and also severed as the Race Director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon for several occasions. In 2015, he was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Running by Runner’s World – tied for 6th place. McGillivray has logged more than 150,000 miles, most for charity, raising millions for worthy causes.
When life gave him lemons, being left out of team sports, Dave decided to run and he loved it so much that he made a career out of it! To date, he has helped conduct over 1200 racing events including the Boston Marathon. Dave incredible experiences include challenging runs like blindfolded for the blind and also edgy ones with jail inmates, among many.
Connecting for the #IamLivingIt series, Team Livingit got in touch with Dave for an exclusive interview on how he got to where he is today and his love for running.
Livingit: What inspired you to start running? How has running changed your life?
Dave McGillivray: Running never CHANGED my life. Running IS my life!! I feel like I have been running ALL my life which I have. I started running because I got cut from all the other team sports because I am short in stature so I started running because no one can cut you from running…you just run. I’ve run over 150,000 miles since and have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
Livingit: What is the story behind Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Boston Marathon and DMSE, Inc? What inspired you?
Dave McGillivray: I didn’t create the BAA, it was there long before I was even alive. I always say that I am just a caretaker of the marathon, it was here long before me and will be here long after I am gone, I am just helping to take care of it for a while. I started DMSE in 1981 and now have consulted on or produced about 1,200 events all over the country and the world.
Livingit: What was the first marathon (and/or a running event) you ever participated in?
Dave McGillivray: My first official marathon was Boston in 1973.
Livingit: How do you train yourself for marathons? What is your general training regime?
Dave McGillivray: Generally now, I just run about 50-60 miles a week averaging about 5-8 miles a day with a long run (15-20) on the weekend.
Livingit: What is your best running experiences/memories?
Dave McGillivray: Running across America in 1978 and finishing in Fenway Park in front of 30,000 people!!
Livingit: What are some of the challenges you faced while running in your city/country?
Dave McGillivray: Really, not any. Life is good here!
Livingit: What do you wish you knew before taking part in your first official marathon? Do you prefer running in marathons?
Dave McGillivray: Wish I knew to train more! I dropped out of my first but learned my lesson and finished the next 146 marathons. I like running 1 or 2 marathons a year but not too many more than that.
Livingit: What is the most rewarding thing about long-distance running, why do you continue it?
Dave McGillivray: I’m still competitive but I do focus more on the health and fitness benefits.
Livingit: How many races have you taken part in so far?
Dave McGillivray: Estimate – about 1,200 races.
Livingit: Which marathons would you like to take part in next? Any Ultra events in the plans?
Dave McGillivray: Planning on doing the World Marathon Challenge in 2018 – 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents.
Livingit: How do you balance your passion, along with your professional life? Has running helped in your professional/personal life?
Dave McGillivray: Running is my professional life! I own an event management company and have directed or consulted on over 1,000 events.
Livingit: How was your experience at the Gatorade Ironman Triathlons? How did you progress each time?
Dave McGillivray: I did 9 of them….8 in the 1980’s and my 9th only 3 years ago after a 25-year gap. My times were always pretty consistent. I finished 14th in 1980 but there were only 108 of us in the race then. My most memorable moment came when I ran a 3:05 marathon off the bike which at the time was one of the fastest marathons runs on that course. Today, it is considered close to a walking pace!! In 2014, I went back after experiencing the Boston Marathon bombings and after being diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease in 2013 (2013 was a bad year) but worked hard, reduced my illness by over 50% and went on to finish my 9th Ironman.
Livingit: What are the three most important things to keep in mind while running?
Dave McGillivray: Run safe, run honest and let your thoughts run freely.
Livingit: Who is your inspiration?
Dave McGillivray: My inspiration is my family.
Livingit: What is your advice to any aspiring runner?
Dave McGillivray: Will leave you with my most favorite motto – It’s My Game, So It is My Rules. Live your life the way you want to, not the way others want you to. Anything is possible. And those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Always set goals, not limits!!
Livingit: What was one experience you have had, and you will never forget during a run?
Dave McGillivray: Running a marathon inside a maximum security prison against the inmates and being yelled at by some who were saying that if I won they would break my legs…I believed them but went on to win anyways. To this day my legs are still good – no broken bones! Whew!!
Livingit: In terms of running, what’s on your bucket list?
Dave McGillivray: Going to run a marathon totally within inside Fenway Park in September!
With over 45 years of running, Dave McGillivray has shown what it means to take a passion to a whole new level. While we all run the race of life, let's run some for ourselves! Learning from Dave’s story, never underestimate your ability as being picked last, might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
For running tips and hacks read Fartlek: A Swedish Training Trick for Better Running .
Make your own rules, never be afraid of people. Well, because they are just people. Most importantly, never get upset about what other people think! When life gives you lemons, throw them right back!… It’s your life. Stop existing and start livingit!