30th Anniversary Gala on March 12 to benefit the DMSE Foundation’s new Running in Places program for Boston-area school children

BOSTON — When Dave McGillivray founded Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, Inc. from a Medford, Mass. storefront 30 years ago, running was known as jogging, wicking material was a terry cloth headband, and sports drinks and running shoes were in their infancy. 

Three decades after organizing his first road race, McGillivray is now a world renowned race director and pioneer in combining fitness with fundraising. He and TEAM DMSE organize, consult on and/or direct more than 30 road races annually, including the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K, and have helped raise millions for charity over the years. 

“When I first got started in this business people would ask me what I do for a living and I would mumble it softly, almost embarrassed to say I was a race director,” McGillivray recalled. “Now, when asked, I say that my team and I manage races that help people achieve their goals and their dreams. These are not just road races, they are life changing events for countless numbers of people.” 

DMSE Sports will mark 30 years running with a gala event on Saturday, March 12 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Quincy Marriott. Registration for the DMSE 30th Anniversary Gala, which is open to the public, is online at Proceeds from the event – which will feature a silent auction, guest speakers, drawings and other activities – will benefit the DMSE Foundation’s new Running in Places program.

Founded by Dave McGillivray in 1981, DMSE’s first event – the Bay State Triathlon at Wright’s Pond in Medford, Mass. – attracted 100 participants. That “Tri” in 1982 was one of the first triathlons in New England and one of only a few in the world at the time. McGillivray himself had done the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii in 1980 and was so taken with the concept that he was determined to introduce it to fellow athletes in his native Northeast. Since that time McGillivray himself completed eight Ironmans and has consulted on some of the world’s most important triathlons. In addition to introducing the inspirational father-son team of Rick and Dick Hoyt to the sport, McGillivray, who was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in January, also was a sports agent to some of the finest triathletes, including Karen Smyers and Dave Scott, a fellow inductee. 

Triathlons marked the start but certainly not the finish for DMSE Sports. McGillivray quickly earned a reputation as detail minded, safety oriented and a creative thinker when it came to all things related to event management. The B.A.A Boston Marathon took notice more than 20 years ago, bringing him on board to help make the race safer and better for the runners. Since then he has consulted on 23 “Bostons” and the DMSE resume now includes events worldwide, such as the 60,000-runner Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, which he and his team consulted on in 2010, as well as the 2004 and 2008 USA Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. 

When Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson had an idea for a road race in her hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, she reached out to McGillivray. Now in its 14th year, that race, the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K, is among the most popular on the U.S. road race circuit, attracting some of the world’s best runners and drawing rave reviews from participants. 
“The success of this race is due in large part to Dave’s management, which is second to none,” Samuelson said. “Congratulations to him and his team at DMSE for 30 amazing and meaningful years of work and service in the running industry as well as in the larger community beyond. DMSE’s commitment to excellence, hard work, end results that surpass most expectations, and to do what is right for the greatest good motivates and inspires all of us who have had the opportunity and privilege to work with them. Run on!”

DMSE Sports also is a pioneer in what is now one of the most important aspects of the athletic industry – combining athletics with philanthropy. Nearly every DMSE event over the past three decades has included an element of giving back, whether to the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital, Lazarus House or any of the others who have benefited from the millions of dollars raised through the more than 900 DMSE organized events. Nearly every DMSE endeavor has that unbeatable combination of fitness and fundraising. In fact, McGillivray’s running career really began when he completed a solo run across the U.S. (Medford, Oregon to Medford, Mass.) when he was 23 years old to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.

In 2003 McGillivray created his own charity, The DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation. The Foundation supports non-profit programs that use running as a primary means of promoting physical fitness in children. The newest endeavor is the DMSE Foundation’s Running in Places program which focuses on building healthy bodies and healthy minds by combining physical activity with visits to educational and historic locations. The motivational program, launched as a pilot program in 2010, is designed to help public school children learn the importance of physical fitness, self-esteem, peer respect and education. 

McGillivray’s passion for health and fitness when he was in his 20s continues to serve as the vision for him and his team. It is this ability to see a race and think like an athlete that has fueled their success, establishing DMSE Sports as the Gold Standard of excellence in athletic endeavors and philanthropy since 1981.