Why Your Best Accomplishment Should Be Your Next One – Director of the Boston Marathon Dave McGillivray

Race director, philanthropist, motivational speaker, accomplished athlete – Dave McGillivray is a professional with a purpose.

From his extraordinary run across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1978 to serving as technical director then race director of the BAA Boston Marathon since the 1980s, McGillivray has helped organize more than 900 mass participatory events since founding DMSE, Inc. in 1981, while raising millions for worthy causes close to his heart.

In this episode, Dave shares with us his perspective on how running and races have changed over the years, as well as describing his own accomplishments and outlook.

The Boston Marathon is arguably one of the most iconic races and one whose meaning has grown even more since the tragedy in 2013. I know that many of you are in the final stages of preparing for this event and I think this inside view may get you even more psyched up. If that’s possible.

Dave M image

Here are some of the topics we’ll discuss today:

  • Dave’s personal running accomplishments
  • Dave’s drive for, and various types of, philanthropy
  • His perspective on past and future accomplishments
  • What’s actually involved in putting together a major racing event
  • How Dave has maintained his high fitness level.

Questions Dave is asked:

5:39 What is your running background?

7:22 What was your initial spark to start running?

10:34 What is the story behind your starting the first sanctioned running club inside a maximum security prison?

13:56 How was your experience with your 24-hour swim?

17:10 How do you feel running has evolved since the 1970’s?

20:40 Would you agree that there are many more recreational runners now than in the ‘70’s?

22:06 Do you feel that all races should have a qualifying standard like the Boston Marathon?

23:45 What does it mean to be a race director?

27:10 How has your approach to organizing the marathon changed since 2013?

28:39 How has the atmosphere of the race changed since then?

29:52 Besides security increases, what are some of the other challenges you have to address as a race director?

32:14 What is the best part about your job?

33:47 How do you will yourself to run the course every year after the marathon is over?

36:10 How have you managed to remain fit?

37:42 Have you had to alter your training at all or just other areas of your life?

41:16 The Final Kick Round

Quotes by Dave:

“I just knew as I was running across America, going through 120 degrees in the desert, or running over the Rocky Mountains or running 50-60 miles a day, even though that might have been somewhat painful, it paled in comparison to what these kids were going through.”

“Kids ask me all the time: ‘What’s your best accomplishment?’ and I invariably say to them, ‘My best accomplishment is my next one.’”

“I help raise the level of self-esteem and self-confidence of tens of thousands of people in America”

“The toughest part about running a race is signing the application.”

“I have a button in my office that says: ‘My job’s secure; no one else wants it’.”

“The runners and race management have had to learn a whole new system. And sometimes people have a tough time with change, but eventually, after a year or two, it’s not change anymore; it’s become the norm.”

“I think the spirit from all the people who realize that good will always overcome evil has certainly been infectious for everybody.”

“I’d rather not put out fires; I’d rather prevent them.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Book: The Haywire Heart; Velopress.com

The Boston Marathon

Book: The Last Pick
Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises (DMSE, Inc.)

New Balance Falmouth Road Race

Beach to Beacon 10K

The Jimmy Fund

Dana Farber Cancer Institute

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