Race Director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and TD Beach to Beacon is turning his heart disease around with a strict diet and exercise program

BOSTON — Dave McGillivray, the race director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and 25 other road races throughout the U.S., received encouraging news from his heart doctor last week when he was told there was a noticeable and remarkable reduction in severity of his coronary artery narrowing as a result of his diet and exercise program. 

“It’s great news for me, my family and for others with heart disease.  I had my 10-month follow up angiogram procedure and it went great. Dr. (Aaron) Baggish said I made huge improvements - so all the diet change, supplements and cross training (for Ironman) is really paying off and I am actually reversing the disease on my own and with the support of my family and friends,” McGillivray said in an e-mail to friends.

McGillivray has been on a strict diet, increased his training regimen and takes daily dietary supplements since learning he had coronary heart disease last fall. He has spoken openly about his diagnosis and encourages others to get healthy and go in for heart tests, even if they think they are healthy and in shape. And it’s working. Since last fall, he has lost 27 pounds, dropped his cholesterol level by over 100 points and has been following a very strict, healthy diet which he credits as having given him his health back and now feels he is in his best shape in 15 years. Recently, he has even been winning his age group in many of the races he has competed in this summer.  When asked what specifically is on the diet, he says “It’s simple - don’t eat the bad stuff, just eat the good stuff!”

McGillivray, president of DMSE Sports, has also been training for his return to Kona, Hawaii in October to participate in the Ironman Triathlon World Championship for the ninth time – but for the first time in 25 years.  He has been swimming, biking and of course running to prepare for the challenge. He will compete in the Ironman to once again benefit the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation (known as MR8). Donations can be made to Dave's Ironman effort  here. McGillivray has been receiving a lot of support from sponsors such as Specialized Bicycles, Timex, Oakley and HUUB Design.

McGillivray turned 60 on Aug. 22 and on Aug. 9, he ran his age in miles, completing a 3.5-mile route near his North Andover, Mass., home 17 times, crossing a finish line and celebrating with a party with more than 200 friends and family. He has now logged more than 150,000 miles and has finished 131 marathons – including 42 consecutive Boston Marathons. 

McGillivray gained national prominence with his 1978 cross country run that took 80 days and raised almost $150,000 for the Jimmy Fund – the first money any runner ever raised for a cancer charity, according to Runner’s World. He has completed a number of similar feats of endurance since his groundbreaking cross country trek, including a second cross-country run in 2004 from San Francisco to Boston as part of TREK USA, a relay team event that raised more than $300,000 for five children’s charities.

McGillivray is a pioneer in what is now one of the most important aspects of the endurance sports industry – combining athletics with philanthropy. Nearly every DMSE Sports event combines fitness and fundraising, giving back to the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital, Lazarus House and many others charities and non-profit organizations in New England and across the country. He along with all the events he has directed have helped raised more than $100 million for charity over the years since starting DMSE Sports in 1981.


DMSE Sports is a leader in sports event management, specializing in creating, marketing and producing mass participatory athletic events throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, DMSE manages more than 25 major road races per year, including the TD Beach to Beacon in Maine, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, the Finish at the 50 at Patriot Place, Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, Va., the Bellin Run in Green Bay, Wis., the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race and the Across the Bay 10K in Annapolis, Maryland, among others. For more info, visit www.dmsesports.com.