BOSTON — Dave McGillivray, race director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and president of DMSE Sports, was given the Enduring Spirit Award by the Back on My Feet organization at the group’s annual breakfast in Boston on May 23.
Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national organization that uses running to create self-sufficiency in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, helping members obtain independence through employment, job training and housing.
The Friday breakfast was attended by about 400, including both corporate and city leaders.
“No one should be homeless and no one should live in poverty,” McGillivray told the audience. “We all have a responsibility and obligation to help those less fortunate. Running can help raise self-esteem and self-confidence which is the first step for those who are part of the Back on My Feet community in reclaiming their lives.”
“I’ve always felt there is no such thing as an individual award and as such, accept this kind recognition on behalf of many who have supported me over the years,” McGillivray added.
After accepting the Enduring Spirit Award, McGillivray also gave the keynote speech, emphasizing that we all should “set goals, not limits” and that “the worst injustice one could ever do to themselves is to underestimate their own ability.”
“McGillivray’s speech was one of, if not the most moving, powerful, passionate and relevant speeches I have ever heard,” said John Lashar, a founding board member of the Boston Chapter of Back on My Feet. “I feel very fortunate and lucky to have witnessed his heartfelt performance.”
McGillivray, a Medford native now living in North Andover, Mass., 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. He has now logged more than 150,000 miles, eight Hawaii Ironman Triathlons and now has finished 131 marathons – including this past Boston Marathon.
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. Since starting DMSE Sports in 1981, he along with all the events he has directed have helped raise $100 million for charity. The firm is now a leader in sports event management, specializing in creating, marketing and producing mass participatory athletic events throughout the U.S. and abroad.
McGillivray learned he had coronary heart disease last fall and has spoken out about getting healthy and going in for heart tests, even if you think you are healthy and in shape. He has lost 27 pounds, dropped his cholesterol level by over 70 points and has been following a very, very strict and healthy diet, which he credits as having given him his health back and now feels he is in his best shape in 15 years.
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, Md., among others.