Friday, April 25, 2014

The People Who Are Boston Stronger

{This past week has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions. I have been blessed to meet people who are the embodiment of Boston Stronger. My blog features several of the people who have graced my life during this past week since the anniversary of 4/15/13.}

The first time I met Dave McGillivray was at the mobility impaired start of the 2009 Boston Marathon. He told us that he would be giving us an oral command - Runners take your mark, get set, go and he put his hand down much as they do to signal the start of a lap at a car race.

I was starstruck to be standing next to the race director for the Boston Marathon and having him give us the start of our 2009 Boston Marathon run. It didn't matter that there was an entire race to orchestrate and command. He was totally focused and present in that moment. We were all that mattered to him.

And that's who Dave McGillivray is.

I have seen him in passing in his role as race director and admire his ability to put on his game face and get the job done. The BAA 10K two months after the events of 4/15/13 was a daunting event to put on I'm sure yet he made sure that Boston moved forward as a running community.

Dave spoke at the L Street Marathon meeting. Here are photos that capture his essence:

He shared with us his health challenge of the last year when he was diagnosed with severe blockages in his heart. "I got myself into this mess," he told us were his thoughts after his cardiac catheterization, "and I'm gonna get myself out." He explained the difference between being fit and being healthy.

He shared with us the view of last year's events through his eyes but he wouldn't dwell there. He looked ahead to the weekend and Marathon Monday. "This is our race," he told our Club.

He stood on the side after his talk. I went over to him and quietly stood next to him for a few moments until there was a lull between speakers. I had a copy of his book "Last Pick" and asked him if he would sign it. I told him I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner. "You did?" he said. "Good for you." He signed my book, "Set goals, not limits."

The weekend before Marathon Monday he seemed to be omnipresent in downtown Boston. He got the over 10,000 runners off at the BAA 5K and then rushed to prepare the finish line for the winner of the 5K who came in before all the runners had crossed the starting line. He was on Boylston Street getting the Tribute Run set up and organizing the Invitational Mile moving barricades

and orchestrating the event with a sense of single minded purpose to ensure that survivors and their families could participate in the Tribute Run:

Yesterday on Facebook, Dave posted this on his page:
This photo is at the TD Beach to Beacon race with my 9-year old daughter Elle and 7-year old son Luke with running icons Ryan Hall, Meb, and Joanie. My kids were sitting in the bleachers last year and saw it “all”. They were “profoundly impacted” like so many others. This year they decided not to go to the race, sad….however, Lukie was telling me he still watched it on TV and was cheering Meb on to win and is now psyched to return to the race again next year. See Meb, you even inspired my son Luke to “come back” to the Boston Marathon. Your win my friend was “epic” but what you just did for my son is what I will cherish the most. And, for those still asking, yes, I did finish my 42nd Boston in about 4:12 at 11:09pm at night…boy was it dark out the entire run! Even though I was a little tired, it was a pretty easy run for me and my buddies Sean Ryan, Doug Kaplan, Josh Nemzer and new friend Brent. I did it for the MR8 Foundation (Martin Richard – the little boy who was killed last year) and helped our team raise over $45,000. So, from the 10:00am gun, my time was 11 hours and 8 minutes…ha! Hey, last year my time was 11 days, 2 hours and 30-minutes…so, at least you can say I am improving!

Wow…what a day all around. Very proud of each and every runner who had the guts to come back to Boston…the heck with me, I’m a slug, all you folks are my heroes…honestly! This is as much America’s Marathon as it is the Boston Marathon and there were 36,000 human interest stories out there on Monday (plus about another billion who supported the race this year!). And, lucky me, I’m about the ONLY person who saw every single moment of this event being all around the start, along the entire course on the lead motor scooter and at the finish. I’m still shaking my head in amazement wondering if this was all just a dream. OK, enough…the 2015 Boston Marathon is only 363 days away…got to get back to work! See you all again next year!

Here's to Dave McGillivray who set the stage for all of us to journey together as a running community this past year. This weekend and on Marathon Monday he led the charge to help the City of Boston to experience what it means to be Boston Stronger!

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