Eleven days after terror struck, race director finishes traditional run.
Dave McGillivray, the race director for the Boston Marathon, completed his annual running of the storied course Friday, starting in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and finishing on Boylston Street around 1:20 p.m. He ran with Josh Nemzer, a colleague at DMSE Sports, McGillivray’s event-production company, and the pair was accompanied by a police escort down Boylston Street to the finish. It was a bit of unfinished business for McGillivray, 58, who had planned to do the run on race day, April 15, but was called back to the finish area when bombs went off shortly before 3 p.m.
“Many of you friends have been asking, so I wanted to let you know that today I, along with my friend Josh Nemzer, snuck out and ran the marathon course," McGillivray wrote on his Facebook page. "It was a strong but a 'reflective' and personal run. Our two sons also joined us as our support crew (Ryan M. and Aaron N.) ... It was very special to have them with us."
Prior to this year’s race, McGillivray had run 40 consecutive Boston marathons. For the past 25 of those, he waited until his race-director duties were done for the day, hitched a ride out to Hopkinton where his workday had begun as early as 5:30 a.m., and—with the blessing of the Boston Athletic Association, the marathon’s organizer—run the empty course with various friends, stopping occasionally at makeshift water stops, often finishing at dusk. Normally, a couple hundred people are waiting for him. On Friday, because he and Nemzer ran without any fanfare or prior announcements, there were four.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t significant. Nemzer, who has run the course with McGillivray every year since 1999, said Friday’s run was therapeutic. “The highlight of the run was the closure that it allowed us to feel," Nemzer said in an e-mail. "In a normal year, the evening run represents the end of one marathon cycle and the beginning of another one. Given the circumstances of April 15, we never had a chance to experience that closure. We finally did this morning."
McGillivray, who grew up in suburban Medford and ran with the Greater Boston Track Club in the 70s and 80s, is an immensely popular figure in Boston and in the running community. He has run in and organized many endurance events to benefit charities, helping to raise more than $100 million. He is also virtually synonymous with the race he first took on as a 17-year-old in 1972 (he didn’t finish that first one) and that has been his professional first love and obsession since 1988. Friday’s run will likely be seen as symbolic, a positive step forward for a city and running community still grieving from the terrorist attacks on April 15.
"So, even though a little late, number 41 Boston is now complete," McGillivray wrote on Facebook."Oh, and as for our time–it was 11 days, 4 hours and 30 minutes!"