Dave McGillivray Interview

In this podcast, George Hirsch and Amby Burfoot talk with Dave McGillivray, who has run the last 51 Boston Marathons in a row, most of them while also serving as Boston's race course director. That meant he couldn't start his run from Hopkinton until everyone else had finished theirs at Copley Square.

On April 15, he will be aiming for his 52nd consecutive finish.

Sometimes that seems like the least of McGillivray's endurance achievements. He has also finished 9 Ironman Triathlons, several Coast To Coast runs, and a 24-hour pool swim, during which he covered 27 miles. Most of these efforts were undertaken to raise funds for various New England charities. 

On April 15th, for the first time since the 1980s, McGillivray will be running with the main pack of Boston entrants. He'll start the first several "waves," then walk back to join a son and daughter in mid-pack. This time he's supporting his own charity, the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation (link below) that seeks to "inspire and empower" New England youth. 

Before speaking with McGillivray, George and Amby discussed the Barkley Marathons, where Jasmin Paris became the first female runner to finish the grueling, 100+ mile forest scramble in Tennessee. The event, and Paris's success, were covered by the NYTimes, BBC, and many other media.

This led to a discusion of why ultra endurance events get so much attention. George said he thought it was due to the female angle--that we are at an important historial turning point when women athletes are finally getting their due. He mentioned that Caitlin Clark is probably the most heavily covered collegiate basketball player in this year's NCAA championship playoffs.

Along the same lines, Amby recalled the recent success of Netflix's movie about Dyana Nyad. He also noted the recent 10,000 meter track performances of Grant Fisher, Nico Young and Waini Kelati. At The Ten, all met the qualifying times for this summer's Paris Olympics. 

After the interview, Amby said he was impressed with the way McGillivray shared his triple-bypass heart surgery with the running public to raise public awareness. 

George noted that McGillivray was anything but an instant success in the marathon. He dropped out of his first, and nearly quit his second at the 21 mile mark in 1973. At that point, he thought of his grandfather's belief in him, and picked himself off the sidewalk to complete the last 5 miles. 

And he hasn't missed a Boston finish since then.

To keep up with Dave McGillivray, you can follow him on Instagram. To support the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation, go here. 

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Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

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