He’s been running his age every year since he was 12.
Dave McGillivray, race director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, the TD Bank Beach to Beacon, the upcoming Run Gloucester! 7-Mile Road Race and more than 30 road races in New England and beyond, runs his age each year on his birthday – a tradition he started when he was just 12 years old growing up in Medford, Mass.
Last week, he ran 57 miles. And although his birthday is Aug. 22, he decided to do it a few days early to stay under the radar.
“As I do every birthday, I gave myself a birthday gift – I had my annual physical and my doctor gave me the thumbs up, despite some injuries – an Achilles heel and some left hip soreness,” he said. “But for the first time in years, I decided to try this one on my own so I didn’t tell anyone.”
An avid planner of major events with 30 years in the business, McGillivray approached the annual run as he does his major road races.
“I charted out 16 loops of a 3.6-mile course…from my house in North Andover, down to Old North Andover Common and back, thus using the house as my home base,” he said. “I woke up at 2:00am and started the run at 3:00am. I didn’t realize how dark it would be, but managed to navigate the streets until the sun came up. However, then I had to deal with the 80+ degree heat.”
He planned everything out methodically — paid attention to his diet for the past month and even rested a bit, something he rarely does.
“I was feeling pretty good for the first 30 to 35 miles with the exception of the injuries. And, for the first time in a number of years, I really didn’t walk much at all, maybe just a mile or two at the most and I think that really helped a lot, too, as the walking can also wear you down more than the running if you haven’t done a lot of it,” he added.
And, although McGillivray, who ran across the U.S. — twice — for charity, usually never runs with an iPod, he grabbed his wife’s iPod and brought an iPhone as well.
“I even made a couple of calls while running, including being on a BAA conference call…multi-tasking,” he said. And, of course, McGillivray stopped a few times to check his emails. “After all,” he said, “it was still a work day!”
McGillivray owns DMSE Sports, Inc. and founded the DMSE Children’s Foundation to help kids stay active.
Local residents may have seen McGillivray on the same 3.6 mile loop throughout the day, some surely scratching their heads. He ran by one house where a group of workers were installing a stone wall.
“Back and forth in front of them I went. After about the 20th time I ran by them, one guy yelled out, ‘hey, you ever going to stop?’ so I stopped and spoke to them for a minute. However, by the end of the day, they were gone, and I was still running.”
At the end of the day — 6:00pm — he stopped at a 25-cent lemonade stand and the kids gave him a free drink, although McGillivray returned to pay them when he was done.
McGillivray said he ate four bagels, two bananas and drank 15 bottles of Gatorade. He lost a total of 6 lbs. during the run.
“I was nervous and anxious about this year’s run – have had a few medical issues like an Achilles heel and have been seeing a physical therapist for soreness – but I guess the lesson here is even if you may not think something can be accomplished, you really never know until you give it a chance.”