Dave McGillivray has directed several hundred road races, including the granddaddy of them all, the Boston Marathon.
He's met and befriended all of the great ones. Name somebody of substance that has won a race of substance and McGillivray has probably "directed" that person on some street.
But when it comes to running and health, McGillivray has a soft spot ... for kids he'll never meet.
Thanksgiving Day is one of those days McGillivray shows off his passion for the sport. For kids.
The Feaster Five, another one of his big races that draws about 10,000 runners and walkers, is where he began noticing something after nearly four decades promoting races, particularly the popular Kids K races for children 4 through 12.
It started at 100 kids. Then 500. Now it's up around 750 entered the Kids K, which is run 30 minutes before the big race.
"When kids are running, they are smiling," said the 62-year-old McGillivray. "It's something you don't see too often with adults."
McGillivray was running one day two years ago with his son Luke, then 10, and realized it even more.
"Luke kept pace with me step for step," said McGillivray. "Either he is getting much faster or I am getting much slower – I am sure it is some of both. But he loved it. I think he could've kept running.
"I believe all kids are born runners," he added. "They have greater powers of adaptability and endurance than most of us give them credit for."
When he concocted one of the biggest road racing events he's ever produced, from scratch, the DMSE Classic, he opened up a big race for kids. Just like the Feaster Five it was a huge success.
The kids races are short and quick, starting at 7:45 a.m. at the track off Balmoral Street, near the starting line.
Here are the races and distances:
4 and under: 100 yards.
5-6: 200 yards.
7-8: 300 yards.
9-10: 400 yards.
11-12: 600 yards.
It's a non-scored fun run and each child gets their own sports bib, No. 1.
McGillivray started running when he was 12. He hasn't stopped and in fact, has picked up the pace the last few years after some health concerns.
"The fun run, for many children, plants the seed of good health and physical fitness," said McGillivray. "As they grow older, many of these kids move up to the 5K or 5 mile race. Who knows how many will become world class athletes?
"More importantly, though," said McGillivray. "They all will have a better sense of how important family, fitness, and fun is in their lives."
The cost to run the Kids K Fun Run is $5.
Feaster Five registration, number pickup and Expo
You can still enter online at www.feasterfive.com or register at the Expo at the Andover/North Andover YMCA Monday through Wednesday.
165 Haverhill Street, Andover, MA
Monday, Nov. 20
Noon to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 21
Noon to 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 22
Noon to 6 p.m.
5 MILE / 5 KILOMETER
$40.00: Thru November 22
$45.00: Race Day
5 KILOMETER (kids under 12)
$30.00: Thru November 22
$35.00: Race Day
KID’S FUN RUN
The Kid’s Fun Run is $5.