40 Years Later, Dave McGillivray Sets Off on a Familiar Journey to Fenway

Photo Credit: Dave McGillivray

In 1978, from June 11 to August 29, Dave McGillivray gave new meaning to the term “cross-country road trip.” The now long-time Boston Marathon race director was 23 years old at the time and had decided to run across the United States in 80 days, raising money for the Jimmy Fund. His 3,452-mile run spanned from Medford, Oregon to Medford, Massachusetts.

Well before the age of cell phones, computers and GPS, McGillivray planned his route with a paper map and ruler. He chronicled this adventure using daily postcards, noting the date, weather, temperature, miles ran and location.

“I’ll tell you what a typical day [was] like: Wake at 5:30 a.m., have tea with honey, donut or toast, stretch, Vaseline, Bengay, etc. Out on [the] road by 6:30 a.m., run 10 miles, rest 15-20 minutes, run 10 more miles, rest 15-20 minutes and run another 5-10 miles all before lunch,” said McGillivray. “For lunch, [a] pint of ice cream. Out on [the] road at 2 p.m. Run five miles, rest a bit, run another five miles, rest a bit, then walk an extra two miles with my cassette player, recording everything that happened that day. Then find a place to stay for the night, eat, take all my [supplements], write postcards and in bed at 10 p.m.”

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Averaging 45 miles a day, he ran across the Nevada desert, up and over the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, and through the desolate plains of the Midwest, before ending in his hometown of Medford, MA. His trek culminated with a ceremonious run through Fenway Park, where he was greeted by a standing ovation from 32,000 fans.

“Running 3,452 miles across America for the Jimmy Fund remains the absolute highlight of my athletic career. It proved that anything is possible and gave me the confidence to continue to set goals in my life, not limits, ” McGillivray said.

On August 23, 2018, McGillivray will celebrate 40 years since that first cross-country trek by strapping on his running shoes, just as he did back in 1978. The morning will commence with a ceremony led by Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke on the steps of Medford City Hall before McGillivray will run the seven miles from Medford to Fenway Park with Bill Rodgers, four-time Boston Marathon winner, and several other friends.

“Running into Fenway Park again to mark this 40th anniversary of my cross-country run will be another highlight and another opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a great cause,” said McGillivray.

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Physical feats in the name of charity are nothing new for him. Over the years, he has raised money for the Jimmy Fund through other physical challenges such as a 1,520-mile run up the East Coast, a 24-hour swim and a 24-hour bike ride. In addition, he has completed nine Ironman triathlons, 155 marathons and the World Marathon Challenge which includes seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.

“My relationship with the Jimmy Fund has a special place in my life and I will never stop supporting all the good work they do. It’s 40 years later and I feel the same way today as I did back then,” said McGillivray. “I also learned about giving back and about being grateful for all that I am blessed to have.”

The Jimmy Fund raises money for cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and improves the chances of survival for cancer patients worldwide. McGillivray hopes to raise $100,000 for the organization through the 40th anniversary of his cross-America run and through the 30th Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk (BMJFW) on September 23, 2018. To help him reach his goal, visit his fundraising page here.

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