Marathon, charity, reading and his new book highlight school assembly

Dave McGillivray is not a man of mystery. He is a man of accomplishment and charity.

That was on display recently at the Annie L. Sargent School recently when the Boston Marathon race director spoke to students at an assembly helping promote reading, his upcoming children's book, his charity race team for the marathon and fifth grade teacher, Jeanne Caron, who is running her 20th consecutive Boston Marathon on April 17, for a charity.

Ms. Caron is running for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, helping raise money for research and an eventual cure for cardiomyopathy.

McGillivray was a special addition to a school assembly promoting Read Across America and Beyond.

Her students studied places like Ireland, Mexico, India, London, Scotland, the Netherlands, the state of Maine, Kenya, Antarctica and more. McGillivray explained how all of these countries and more -- 99 to be exact -- will come together on April 17, 2017, Patriot's Day, to run the Boston Marathon for the cause.

McGillivray, who is a long-time North Andover resident, has personally helped raise over $20 million for various charities in the New England region, including two runs across the country.

His book project, "Dream Big," will come out later this year. He also is helping raise money on Marathon Monday for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, helping to fund research and find a cure for cardiomyopathy.

"We're trying to empower children to make a positive difference in our world by spreading random acts of kindness," said McGillivray, who shared his story with the students about how when he was little (very little), he had big dreams.

“The students at Sargent were amazing, very engaged and very excited. I was thrilled by their enthusiasm and response and would welcome the opportunity to come back again once my children’s book, Dream Big, is published," said McGillivray, who wrote a biography more than a decade ago called "The Last Pick," referring to always being the last kid chosen for games while growing up in Medford.

Ms. Caron's students will be following her trek during the marathon, via the Internet.

“Jeanne Caron is pretty inspiring having run 19 Boston Marathons in a row with this being her 20th," said McGillivray, who has run consecutive Boston Marathons since turning 17, turns 63 in August. "That's pretty remarkable and very impressive. Her students seem in awe of her accomplishments, as do I.”

 McGillivray added a special touch to the combo event. He gave one little girl a medal, which he has done over 400 times while receiving "about 397" of them back. He put his name and address on the medal. When the girl earns her first medal as a runner, she is expected to mail it back to him and offered to another child.

"What an inspiration Dave is," said Ms. Caron. "As Dave says, 'You can accomplish great things and help others along the way.' "

How to donate ... 

Annie L. Sargent School fifth grade teacher Jeanne Caron, of North Andover, is raising money for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation. If you want to donate to Ms. Caron's cause you can go to: