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Dave McGillivray — Boston Marathon Race Director

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Dave McGillivray — July, 2019
Dave McGillivray is Race Director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon. He was Technical Director from 1988 to 2000 and then became Race Director in 2001. His experience as Race Director also includes the B.A.A. Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon (2001 – present), 2008 and 2004 USA Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, 2003 U.S. Women’s Marathon National Championship, 1990 Triathlon World Championship and annual Fenway Park Marathon. As founder and President of DMSE Sports, Inc., since 1982 Dave has directed or consulted on over 1,000 mass-participatory athletic events that have raised over $50 million dollars for charity. He is also an accomplished endurance athlete with personal bests of a 2:29:58 marathon and 10:36:42 Ironman triathlon. Dave has logged over 150,000 miles and completed over 150 marathons including 47 consecutive Boston Marathons. From 1978 to 1986 he challenged himself with numerous feats of stamina and willpower including the Run across America (3,452 miles) and East Coast Run (1,520 miles); separate 24-hour runs, swims and bike rides; Empire State Building Run-up and the first sanctioned marathon held inside a prison. Dave ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days in 2018. His illustrious career in the sport of road racing has resulted in numerous accolades including several ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards,’ from Competitor Magazine, the Road Race Management Race Directors and the Boston Baseball Writers. He was also recognized with the ‘Race Director of the Year’ award by Road Race Management, Inc. and inductions into the Running USA Hall of Champions (2005) and Road Runners Club of America Long Distance Running Hall of Fame (2017). He is the author of ‘The Last Pick’ and ‘Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination.’ After heart illness and bypass surgery in late 2018, Dave’s quest is to educate us about heart healthiness and that just because you are fit doesn’t mean you are healthy. Dave lives in North Andover, Massachusetts with his wife, Katie and five children, Ryan, Max, Elle and Luke and Chloe.
GCR: HEART SURGERY, RECOVERY AND HEALTH Dave, you went through a triple bypass heart operation late last year and then transitioned to recovery mode. How is your health and recovery and how did this affect you personally, physically and emotionally going through this whole process?
DM Initially when I was diagnosed with the disease, with the bad coronary arteries about six years ago, my initial reaction was one of disappointment and a little bit of shock. But the thing that hit me the most was embarrassment. It was sort of a ding in the armor. I had a somewhat difficult time dealing with that. I had completed all these endurance challenges over the years - running across the country a few times, running up and down the east coast and running all these marathons. When you do that you get a sense, that isn’t necessarily the correct sense, that you might be invincible and that nothing is going to get you down. This diagnosis happened after I was out running and felt some discomfort in my chest and some difficulty breathing. That’s when I went in and had an angiogram and that’s what they found. A number of years went by and I thought I beat it, but a little less than a year ago it came back again. I realized that just because you’re fit doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I thought it did. I wondered if it was genetics or self-inflicted and I think it was a bit of both. Or a lot of both. I changed part of it by changing my lifestyle. I had broken some of the rules by not getting enough sleep, having a certain amount of stress and unhealthy things in my diet. I changed all of that and over a period of time I reversed my coronary artery disease by thirty or forty percent. So, I did have an impact, but I learned that you can not run away from your genetics. It came back again and this past October I had open heart triple bypass surgery. I asked the heart surgeon before the surgery, ‘There’s this small race and jog-a-thon in Boston in April and I’ve shuffled through it a few times. What do you think? Will I be able to get back and do it again?’ He gave me the best answer. He didn’t say ‘yes.’ He didn’t say ‘no.’ He said, ‘I’d be extremely disappointed if you couldn’t.’
GCR: Did that give you a small silver lining in the clouds ahead?
DM That’s the hope that I grasped onto when I went through the surgery. When things like that happen, I went through the five stages of denial – first the denial, then anger, negotiations to have the doctors take another look because I didn’t want to have surgery and was pushing against it as much as I could, self-pity and finally to acceptance. I was getting e-mails and phone calls from all over the country from people who had heard about my situation and that had similar experiences or symptoms and were ignoring them as I had initially did thinking it was something different than what it really was. They read about what I went through and figured if it could happen to me, they should get a checkup. Some of them got one or two or three stints put in and told me I saved their lives. I told them that I didn’t save their lives – they saved their own lives. It made me realize that maybe I should accept this and that I was one of the lucky ones. I got a second chance and that I could help create an awareness to help save other lives. So, now my campaign is like the safety campaign, ‘If you see something, say something.’ Mine is, ‘If you feel something, say something.’ We must advocate for ourselves and do something about it, and I did. Now it’s eight months later and I’m still recovering. I’d be lying if I said, ‘I’m one hundred percent better and I’m out running PRs.’ I’m not. I’ve been recovering more quickly than someone who wasn’t as fit going into the surgery would be experiencing. But it’s going to take a good year they tell me before I totally heal. I still have some time to go, four months, maybe more, maybe less, before I hopefully feel like a new man and I can get out there and run competitively again.
GCR: How was the period after the surgery when you had been so used to running every day and running lots of miles and then you had to gear it down to taking walks, then walking a few times each day and finally adding a bit of the Jeff Galloway walk/run method? How was that process physically and mentally and emotionally that you’ve never gone through before?
DM With anyone who is a devoted endurance athlete and who lives to train, this was the longest time I’ve ever taken off from running in fifty-two years. It did have an impact. But I couldn’t run even if I wanted to. I was dealing with reality. Emotionally it got to me a bit. That’s the whole self-pity feeling. I had to talk myself out of being depressed and having pity. I was lucky they caught it. In my family I have heart disease. My two grandfathers died of heart ailments. My dad had five heart bypasses and aortic stenosis. Two years ago, my sister had a triple bypass. My one brother had a stroke and my other brother had a stint put in. It’s in our DNA and I had to accept this reality. Even though I typically wake up and go for a five- or ten-mile run, I got up and went for a one-mile walk. It was a very different set of circumstances. I looked at it as a new challenge. Instead of running across the country or completing an Ironman triathlon or running the Boston Marathon at night, these were the cards I was dealt, and I had to deal with them. I set milestones for myself without pushing it. The tough part was, never having been through this before, knowing where was that delicate balance between training enough to get myself in good enough shape to run the Boston Marathon safely, but not doing too much that caused me to regress and get into an unsafe place. I had to go at a patient pace and let my body tell me what was acceptable and what wasn’t. It was certainly a very different and unique experience for me.
GCR: 2019 BOSTON MARATHON When it was time for the Boston Marathon and your attempt to run it for the 47th consecutive year, it was the 32nd straight year you would run it late in the day with a small group due to your duties as race director. How tough is it under normal circumstances to get out there without enough sleep, after being on your feet all day, and with haphazard eating and drinking to run a marathon? And how did your heart surgery recovery add to the difficulty?
DM When I started running late in the day after the race activities were mostly over, I thought it was a good idea. I was in my thirties and now I’m in my sixties. So, it becomes exponentially more challenging, I must admit. I don’t complain about it because it is a unique opportunity where I get to direct one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious marathons in the world and then get to run it myself a little bit later in the day. I know the challenge is going to be more for me because of the stress of the planning and the leading up to the race, not getting in as much training as I should in the weeks and months before the race, and then on race day getting out to the start, the pressure of helping more than thirty thousand people have a positive experience, being on my feet, dealing with weather conditions and not eating properly. And who gets out at 5:00 pm and starts their marathon anyway under any circumstances. When we talk about breaking rules and doing it the exact opposite way that we are told to by the experts, I know what I’ve got going in and just deal with it the best way possible. When I added this other situation with the heart surgery only six months before the race, I didn’t know what to expect. The longest I had run nonstop was a half marathon four weeks before Boston. I did a fifteen-miler and ran eighteen miles, but they were more run-stop-run than anything consistent or anything that I was proud of. But I had to be on my feet as long as I could to get me some nuggets of confidence. I also put it out there. It isn’t like I was doing this in a vacuum and didn’t tell anyone. A lot of people were waiting at the finish line or were following me. I laid it out there. I was able to chip away and get it done. It wasn’t a fast marathon, but it was probably my most satisfying marathon.
GCR: What was it like out on the course with the group of fifteen or so people that ran with you on the course from Hopkinton, through Framingham and Natick and Wellesley and through the Newton Hills? Were you soaking it in and truly appreciating being out there, or were you too tired?
DM It was a combination of, ‘I’m glad I’m getting this done,’ but at the same time what I was dealing with physically was tough. I was tired. I was worn out emotionally and physically and mentally. I was using every ounce of energy I had to get myself through it. I even said to the folks running with me, ‘I’m not going to be able to talk too much. You can talk to me, but I’m probably not going to be able to respond much.’ They understood why because I had prepped them in advance. I didn’t want to be rude and have them thinking, ‘I came out to run with this guy and he doesn’t say a word to me.’ I wanted to be courteous and everyone who ran with me helped me to get through it. Any time I toe the line I feel like I’m going to cross the finish line. But that is just me thinking so and doesn’t mean it is going to happen until it does. Crossing that finish line with my son and that boy, Jack Middlemiss, who ran the last stretch with me as I was raising money for his foundation is probably a highlight of my marathon career.
GCR: BOSTON MARATHON FIVE-YEAR REVIEW 2015 - 2019 Since we last chatted in 2014, there have been a variety of racing strategies and weather challenges. Lelisa Desisa, who won the men’s race in 2013, the year of the terrorist attack, came back and won in 2015 while on the women’s side there was a three-way battle between Caroline Rotich, Mare Dibaba and Buzanesh Deba coming down Boylston Street together until Rotich kicked with 80 meters to go to win. How exciting was Desisa winning and the three-way women’s tussle?
DM That’s why we run the race. We never know who is going to win. On paper we can see who has what PR or that one runner ran a certain time a month ago and another was this fast two weeks ago. Anyone can offer up their predictions but, at the end of the day, it’s a long way and anything can happen. Also, weather conditions can impact the results. For me, the last few years I’ve been on the lead vehicle or motorcycle for the men and it is exciting to see how the race unfolds. Boston, more than any other big race, isn’t a place where people come to set PRs. They come to win. So, strategy plays an important role. We watch who takes the lead, who is in the mix, who’s coming from behind and analyze what’s in their mind. We try to figure who is going to make the first move. Will it be too soon? Is one of the favorites going to make a move, but will it be too late? The topography of the course has a significant impact on the results. I did an analysis of this year’s race which is probably typical of every Boston Marathon. I asked our technology department to analyze what percentage of runners ran the second half of the race faster than the first half. There are runners who go out slow and then pick up the pace. I asked Meb Keflezhigi what he thought, and he said, ‘I think thirty to forty percent run the second half faster than the first half.’ That’s because he does and that’s how he wins a race. The reality was that two-point six percent ran the second half faster than the first half. Everyone has a different strategy going into the race and that’s why it is exciting to watch.
GCR: Speaking of different strategies, in 2016 there were three women off the front and Alsede Baysa was thirty or forty seconds behind that group with four miles to go, caught them all and won by 44 seconds. Bobbi Gibb was Grand Marshall on the 50th anniversary of being the first woman to finish and Boston Marathon bombing survivors Adrianne Haslet and Patrick Downes finished with prosthetic legs. What are your comments on these highlights of the 2016 Boston Marathon?
DM It was so touching to see Adrianne Haslet and Patrick Downes participating and displaying so much courage and determination. They were indeed the most inspirational moments of the race. And they continue to do wonderful work in the community helping others who have come upon hardship or tragedy. One of my much memorable moments was coming up on Adrianne while on my lead motor scooter and cheering her on! Having Bobbi Gibb back as Grand Marshall shows how much history there is to this race. Every year we can say that something special happened 25 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago. There is always something to celebrate that is another dimension of the Boston Marathon that no other race has. It’s always fun to see what’s coming up next. We are truly starting to focus on the 125th running of the Boston Marathon in 2021. There is always something new and exciting for us to give focus.
GCR: In 2017 there was a return of Americans toward the front of the race with Galen Rupp finishing second, just 21 seconds behind Geoffrey Kirui’s 2:09:37 and Jordan Hasay’s 2:23:00 in third place being the fastest U.S. woman’s debut marathon ever. Was there a feeling that U.S. marathoners were back and at the front?
DM Yes, and I think it’s also a function of recruitment. For major races like Boston, London and Chicago the athlete recruiters are working to bring in the very best international runners as well as the best American runners. The fact of the matter though is that once the gun fires, it’s a race. And no matter who is in the race, everyone has an equal opportunity to win. It is exciting to see the Americans show podium experiences. For those of us who grew up with the sport in the 1970s and 1980s, we saw Americans do well back then with runners like Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Greg Meyer and Joanie Benoit Samuelson. It’s kind of a nice refresher for us to see runners like Galen Rupp, Jordan Hasay, Molly Huddle and Desi Linden performing so well on the international stage.
GCR: The next year in 2018 we had extremely challenging weather and it was interesting that the tough runners like Desi Linden, the first U.S. woman to win in over thirty years and Yuki Kawauchi, first Japanese man to win in over thirty years were joined by shocking finishes like Sarah Sellers who came out of nowhere to be the second woman. Also, there were so many great international runners who dropped out and did not finish while the top ten finishers for men and women were loaded with Americans. What do you take away from that year’s results?
DM A lot of the elite runners came to win or to place high. When that didn’t happen because of the weather and they started to sense that, they bailed and decided to wait a couple weeks or a month to try again. I suppose that the Americans in Boston felt a sense of pride and, also as they noticed runners who were ahead of them pulling off the side of the road, they knew they had just moved up a notch. As that phenomenon occurred along the way some of the runners knew that this was a unique opportunity to place very high. When you look at Desi’s time, I don’t know when someone ran that pace and won the Boston Marathon. There was a unique chance for runners who were willing to tough it out and, even though they didn’t run personal bests, they placed high at Boston because they were seeing what was going on around them in terms of runners who decided that this wasn’t their day and they were going to save it for another day. Everyone has a different take when situations like this occur as to what they want to do and what they should do. Even Desi said at some clinics after the race that even she almost decided to drop out at some points but decided to hang in there. Obviously, it worked in her favor.
GCR: Over the last several years we have had quite a few close women’s races at Boston, and this year we had the closest men’s race ever. Two-time Boston champ, Lelisa Desisa, battled Lawrence Cherono as they both finished in 2:07:57 with Cherono winning by two-tenths of a second in a sprint finish. How exciting was that to watch from the lead vehicle?
DM It is fascinating to finish a race that is over two hours long come down to a sprint. It can happen in any race at any time, and I get that, but you would almost think that an elite athlete would somehow have that extra gear sooner than the last twenty yards. That is easier said than done though. One put the hammer down and then the other put the hammer down. It was just two giants battling it out and suddenly, a torso wins the race. It could be a photo finish and is certainly exciting for the crowds to watch and for the people watching on television. It’s exciting to see happen but I always feel bad for the runner who finishes second in the same time. There is always a winner and someone who is second and it’s interesting because we always remember who won the race, but don’t necessarily recall who finished second or third or fourth or fifth.
GCR: The focus is usually on the athletes up from, but this year there were two older runners whose performances are very noteworthy. Our hero, Joan Samuelson ran a 3:04 at age sixty-one and Gene Dykes on the men’s side ran a 2:58:50 to break the 70 – 74 age group record by eighteen minutes. What are your thoughts on Joanie and Gene’s performances?
DM Not to belittle the elite’s amazing performances up front, but I admire more now what the older crowd does because I am one of them. When you think about Joanie running competitively for so many years and her ability to still run competitively in her age group and overall in some races, I marvel at that and respect that. Joan is not afraid to put it out there. I admire that she isn’t just doing it, but she is saying what she is going to go after. Gene is new in my world. I know he has been doing this for a while and he is one of those people where I say, ‘I want to be just like him when I grow up.’
GCR: There is one more historic consistency of performances I’d like to discuss and that is Desi Linden’s place in Boston marathon history as one of the top American women ever. Some people may focus on that she won during the bad weather year, which was slower than usual, but in the last nine years she has five top five finishes. She has her win, a second place, two fourth places and a fifth-place finish. Is this possibly the greatest lengthy stretch of consistency by any American woman?
DM Certainly because of what she is doing, she is moving up the ladder. I remember seeing her finish high and she would still be able to walk down the street without too many people recognizing her. Now when you go to clinics and functions, she is being swamped. That alone tells you that she certainly has become recognized, respected and admired. She is earning it for sure.
GCR: FOCUS ON PERSONAL ENDURANCE RACING FEATS You had started focusing on your heart health in 2014 and these feats occurred before your heart surgery in 2018. One which had to be tough was running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Running 26 miles seven days in a row is tough enough, but how was it ding so when you had to run a marathon and then get in an airplane where you were cramped up for eight or ten or more hours, get off the plane, sacrifice sleep, adjust to different weather conditions and keep moving forward?
DM Someone had called me up and asked me if I wanted to try the challenge. My first thought was that it was a hefty entry fee and I wasn’t sure. They offered to pay my entry fee and that put a different light on it for me. I said, ‘sign me up.’ I was looking for a new challenge that was in my wheelhouse. It wasn’t going to take me three months to do. It seemed like a challenge that I could do if I prepared properly. It was within my comfort zone on one hand, but outside my comfort zone on the other hand in the sense that I’d never done something like that with what I would have to deal with between the marathons. So, three weeks before the Boston Marathon in 2018 I went out and ran four marathons and three half marathons in seven days around my neighborhood just to see if I could do it. People thought it was my training, but it was me preparing myself mentally and emotionally to know that I could do it. I knew that if I couldn’t do it around my neighborhood, I wouldn’t be able to do it around the world. So, I felt confident that I could cover the distance. Now, how could I deal with what was in between? You can’t train for that and prepare for that. You just have to anticipate what it’s going to be like and do the best you can to do what you need to in between. One false move and you’re done. That was the challenge – that rat race in between the races, not the races in and of themselves. When I was on the planes, I was saying to myself, ‘I can hardly wait to get off this plane and start running.’ Even when I had run four marathons in a row, it was all about being out there on the road. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely do certain things differently because I learned. But I did what I needed to do to get through each one. Every time I was running one of the marathons, I was running for tomorrow. When you run a marathon, you might have twenty miles under you belt and six to go and you say to yourself. ‘Okay, I’ve got six to go, I’ll hang on for the next two miles and then, if I have anything left in the tank, I’ll use it up and hammer.’ On this run I couldn’t do that because I had to have a reserve. I had to do it again in the next twelve to sixteen hours. That strategy played into it along with recovery while flying at 35,000 feet. We had to sit in our seats for a thirteen or fourteen-hour flight and nutrition played a big role. We could only bring so much food and luggage. We had to eat what they fed us on the plane. All of it was a delicate balance. For me, I actually got stronger as the trip went along. My fastest ten miles of the whole trip was my last ten miles. I don’t know if I would do it again because there are other challenges out there, but it was a unique experience and I’m glad I did it.
GCR: The first Olympics I watched in detail was the 1972 Olympics when Mark Spitz won seven Olympic Gold medals, and now 46 years later here was Dave McGillivray on Andovers Magazine with your seven continent medals in that Mark Spitz type of pose. Was that pretty cool?
DM Yes, it was and that was one of the reasons we set that photo up that way. I remember that picture of Mark, when I was young, and so I took it and put it side-by-side with the picture of me and put them both on Facebook. It was a kind of neat comparison.
GCR: Another event you did back in the 1980s was when you did the Hawaii Ironman eight times. How was it going back in 2014 when you were sixty years old in terms of preparation and then racing in the heat and wind at Kona compared to when you were younger?
DM I set up that goal because, when I was initially diagnosed with heart disease, I needed something to motivate me even more in terms of getting better and getting healthy. I changed my diet and I needed a magnet. I needed a target. I called up the folks at Ironman to see if there was an opportunity to get into the race and they were gracious to let me race. I had been associated with that race since almost its inception. But they did give me one caveat and said, ‘You’ve got to get a note from your doctor.’ So, I went to my doctor and asked for a note and he said, ‘I can’t give that to you right now. I’m not sure you have addressed your coronary disease enough to warrant being able to do this.’ I suggested we do another angiogram and that’s when we found that I had reversed my own severe coronary artery disease by thirty or forty percent. He gave me the note and I was so excited to be going back to Ironman Hawaii for the first time in over twenty-five years. I knew I had to do the work. I contacted NBC Sports and they wanted to document my journey. So, here I was putting it out there. I hadn’t done a triathlon in twenty-five years and had to start swimming again and biking again. I did triathlons that year and got myself the most fit I had been in twenty years. I was excited to be able to do this. I went there all by myself. I didn’t bring any friends or family members. I wanted to go through it alone. I felt like I had made a mistake when I got there. I felt so intimidated. It had changed so much. There is a different mindset, level of fitness of the athletes and the bikes they ride. I did set up my bike next to Apollo Ohno, who was the Olympic champion in speed skating. I wondered, ‘What am I doing here?’ It was surreal even though I had been there eight times before. I felt like I had got myself in a place I really shouldn’t be. Like I said, I was intimidated. But I knew I wasn’t there to win, just to finish, and I had to take it one step at a time. And that’s what I did. I had a decent swim; my bike leg was awful because the wind was so strong that I couldn’t fight through the winds. It took me forever on the bike. Then it affected my run because I expended so much energy on the bike. But I ended up having a pretty good run for me. I was satisfied with my performance, though it was slower than I had hoped for. I felt like I had made a full recovery from the coronary artery disease diagnosis. I felt I had beat it. That wasn’t good only for me, but also for others who were dealing with a heart situation like mine.
GCR: When I first interviewed you in 2009, we talked about your 3,452-mile solo run across the United States in 1978 and last year was the 40th anniversary of that run where you finished in Fenway Park. How cool was it last year to commemorate the finish and to run into Fenway Park with dignitaries there like the Boston Mayor, Dwight Evans from the 1978 Boston Red Sox, Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino, Jeff Donohoe and Tom Kinder from your 1978 cross-country support crew, and your family and friends including your wife Katie, children Ryan, Elle, Luke and Chloe, brothers Bob and Alan, and friends Ron and Fran Kramer there to celebrate with you?
DM I’ve always thought that the highlight of my athletic career was running into Fenway Park after running across America back then. Some people had run across the country before me, but it wasn’t as common as it is today where more people are doing it. Back then there were no cell phones, no food bars, no t-shirts, no GPS, no nothing. I was just out there hammering and hacking away. Forty years later technology has changed and there is the evolution of the sport in terms of what is out there for the athletes. I have a sense of pride that I was able to do it back then when it was just me against the road. There wasn’t much outside assistance available at the time. To be given the opportunity to reenact that finish was very special. It was so neat because, when I finished in 1978, Bill Rodgers was waiting there for me on the steps of City Hall. He was the best in the world at that time having won the Boston Marathon. Forty years later he came again and ran with me and my son and a few friends and ran with me seven miles from Medford to Fenway Park. I ran into the stadium and reenacted the finish and raised over one hundred thousand dollars for the Jimmy Fund charity. Those kinds of moments are very special. I always say that I don’t want to live in the past, but I will use the past as motivation to be in the present and to look to the future. Every now and then something that happened in the past is very, very special that I kind of want to bring back for another quick peek. There was a sense of pride.
GCR: You mentioned raising another large amount for the Jimmy Fund which you also did back in 1978. There were a couple special kids back then, Tara Orlowski and Brendan Newman, who were children undergoing cancer treatments when you ran across the country to raise money for the Jimmy Fund in 1978. How neat was it to find out that they both recovered and are doing well, to reunite with Tara in 2015 and to see the positive impact of what you did?
DM Doing what I did in 1978 was a combination of personal goals, which we all need, and giving back to others. I remember reading Runners World a few years ago and they were looking at the history of fund raising for cancer research through running events. Runners World said that my run across the country was the first time that someone had combined running with raising money for cancer research. It was before the Team-in-Training and Livestrong and others started their efforts. I’ve been proud to be there at the beginning when very few people thought about charity efforts through running. Back in the 1970s it was all about competition and setting goals for yourself. Nobody thought about combining that with raising money for any cause. Eventually with philanthropy entering the space and people doing races for a greater purpose, it helped elevate the sport and became the second goal in road racing. All of that comes into play and I was thinking about Tara and Brendan after I had done the run across the country. Several years later I wondered what had happened to them because I had lost touch. I looked them both up on Facebook and found them both. Brendan was in Rhode Island and Tara was in Florida. I had a sense of pride that I had given back and had an impact on their lives and had helped to save lives. That is what I walked away with – not only had I run across the country and achieved a personal goal, but I was able to help save lives in the process.
GCR: DMSE TEAM, FUND RAISING AND NEW EVENTS In my field of CFO and Strategic Consulting I know how important it is to have a strong team. I checked out your Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprise website and was impressed by your DMSE Leadership Team of Ten: Matt West, Sr. VP of Operations; Ed Wiederhold, VP of Events and Logistics; Aaron Nemzer, Director of Events; Will Lapsey, Director of Logistics; Christina Martin, Marketing Manager; Andy Deschenes, VP of Events; Jennifer Edwards, Director of Special Projects; Tom Donovan, Senior Event Director; Ron Kramer, Senior Event Director; Jack Leduc, Sound Engineer and Announcer. It does take a strong team to put together successful events. What does this team and so many other employees and volunteers mean to you in terms of doing a great job and the camaraderie you share?
DM I’ve always felt my greatest asset is the experience of the people who work with me. I never say ‘for me’ because it is such a team effort. We work together and not for one person. I don’t look at my role as being director or leader, but as a conductor. I try to assemble the best possible team I can and then make sure that we work harmoniously. I’m very fortunate because when I started this business it was just me and very small. I couldn’t have foreseen this by any stretch of the imagination. But then the industry grew, and the company grew more and more and more. I needed to be sure that I was surrounding myself with very good people. I had the tough challenge of delegating. A lot of us like to hold things close to the vest and to be in charge and that only comes back to work against you. If you want to grow, the way to grow is to allow other people the opportunity to take charge themselves. But you must trust them, and they must be able to do the job. It was all evolution. People come on board, they learn, they take a leadership role and then they can handle an event. I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with. I’m constantly trying to cultivate new blood so I have people who can lead an event from start to finish. I’ve been around almost forty years and a lot of us aren’t getting any younger. I must constantly inject fresh faces and new blood into the system. That’s what we’re doing now, and it bodes well for the future of the company.
GCR: You mentioned forty-one years ago how your run across the country was one of the first, if not the first, to combine running and charity fund raising. Over the years DMSE Sports and the DMSE Children’s Foundation have raised over $50 million for charities, including: The Jimmy Fund, Carroll Center for the Blind, Cystic Fibrosis, Lazarus House, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, Massachusetts Special Olympics, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Muscular Dystrophy Association, Sports Museum of New England and Wrentham State School. Is possibly the best thing you and DMSE have done the positive impact you have had through these charitable efforts?
DM Without a doubt. It is the great byproduct of what we do. When I was initially putting on events, I was doing it to give competitive athletes an opportunity to participate. Then when we started attaching a charity component, the charities started noticing and realizing that by putting on a mass participatory event like a walkathon, bikeathon or runathon they could raise money for their charity and that was the way to go because the events were raising so much money. Gone were the car washes and the cake sales as there was an evolution to these walking and running events to raise money for charity and that became the norm. Recently, I was at a Road Race Management conference and was speaking to a couple hundred race directors. I said, ‘How many of your races do not benefit a charity?’ Only two people raised their hand. That means that almost every race has some charity component, which is great. This is the positive byproduct where we are putting on events in communities and having a positive impact on the community. We may inconvenience some people for a few hours with closed roads, but the goodwill that is left behind isn’t just about health and competitiveness, its about philanthropy and doing good and helping those who are less fortunate. It is also like that with participating in races where organizations like Anthony’s Angels or Team Hoyt or other charities are linked with a race and people raise money to participate who otherwise wouldn’t be able to. There is just so much good being generated by these events. Some people on the outside may look in and not understand, but hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised on the heels of runners out there doing all the work in training for the races and doing the ask to be able to raise tens of thousands of dollars individually for a specific cause. That is what we ought to be remembered for.
GCR: A new event DMSE started in 2017 that combines charity and your favorite place, Fenway Park, was the inaugural Fenway Park Marathon which was limited to fifty entrants. How neat was it working with the leadership team of the Red Sox to make that happen and how was it for you running 116 laps around the inside of the park to complete that marathon?
DM In my childhood my hope was that I would become an athlete and play second base for the Boston Red Sox. We all know that that didn’t happen. I thought that if I couldn’t play inside Fenway Park, maybe I could run inside Fenway Park. In 1978 I didn’t run in Fenway Park as much as just finish there. So, I came up with the idea that maybe I could put on a marathon inside Fenway Park. The first response was sort of like looking at me with crossed eyes and saying, ‘Are you serious?’ And I was. But people didn’t take it that seriously and it took a while before I could generate the interest to make it happen. Once I got the ‘yes’ it was simple from that point. There were many people out there who were running fans or Fenway Park fans and we had our fifty entrants in less than two weeks. Each made a commitment to raise five thousand dollars or more for charity. We did the event and it was one of those special moments for me to direct it and to run in the first marathon to be held in a major league baseball park in America. I’ve been very lucky to have many unique opportunities.
GCR: In 2017 you established the Inside the Park Marathon Series and added the Minute Maid Park Marathon in Houston. I was born in Chicago – is there possibly going to be a Wrigley Field Marathon? Will there be one in Camden Yards in Baltimore? Are you working with other MLB teams and stadiums and is there an active interest to expand the Series or is it tough to make it happen?
DM It’s a little bit of both. We can’t trademark it. In San Francisco they are doing a marathon in their stadium that has nothing to do with our series. I’m not sure if they saw what we were doing and decided to do one on their own. I need the facilities to be able to expand the series. We are talking with three or four other stadiums and baseball organizations about putting on a marathon inside their parks. Could you imagine doing thirty of these and then having the championship at the World Series in October? I have visions of where this could lead, but with all our other events and going through my heart situation the enthusiasm gets derailed a bit. What I had hoped to accomplish got derailed somewhat. We are on that path. It isn’t happening as soon as I thought it would, but it still might come to fruition in the next couple years.
GCR: Dave, I have an idea - Could you imagine a Marathon Majors Stadium series in Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, Wembley Stadium in London and the Olympic Stadiums in Berlin and Tokyo?
DM I hadn’t thought of that, but your imagination can run wild. I thought of doing them in the major league baseball parks and then in the NFL stadiums and finishing with a baseball versus football championship. All these ideas look great on paper, but then it is all about execution and someone doing something with the idea.
GCR: Another relatively new DMSE event was the Inaugural MR8k race finishing at center court of Boston Garden with 23 banners lowered to form an arch and that celebrates the life of the small child who died in the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist attack. How neat was this event and finish?
DM Since I had put on a race inside Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium where the Patriots play, I thought, ‘What’s missing here?’ Since we hadn’t done anything with the TD Garde, I was thinking about how to do something special there. It just came to me to do something with the Richards Foundation and I was thinking, ‘MR8… MR8… MR8k! We’ll do an 8k race!’ We came up with the 8k concept and finishing at the Boston Garden and did it and made it happen. Unfortunately, the Garden is under renovation this coming September on race day and so we will relocate the race this year to the Celtics’ training facility across the highway. We will still do the MR8k race this year and then go back to the Boston Garden next year when renovations are complete. Connecting all the dots was an interesting proposition for me to get that race done.
GCR: Most people think of the work of that you and DMSE do up in the New England area, but you also work on managing races in other parts of the country. How fun and different was it to oversee the newly organized 2017 Across the Bay 10K, taking 20,000 runners over the historic, 4.3-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge?
DM I got a phone call form a couple of individuals who had formed an LLC and they told me there had been an organized walk over that bridge years ago that had been discontinued. They had a vision of putting on a race over that bridge. Since they weren’t sure of all the logistics, they asked if DMSE would manage the event if they received permission to hold it. I said we would do it and asked them how many entrants they expected, thinking that three or four thousand would be a good first year field. They said, ‘We expect twenty thousand.’ Obviously, I questioned their sanity of being able to attract twenty thousand people in year one. Well, they got twenty thousand entrants. The good news was they reached their goal. The bad news was who was going to manage this and how were we going to do certain details and how would we handle the transportation piece? Where were all these people going to park? Logistically it was a huge, huge challenge. But we were up for challenges, dug into it and did it. We pulled it off. In the second year there were twenty-five thousand runners and they also had twenty-five thousand in the third year. Then they sold the race to the Ironman organization. This year there is work being done on the bridge, so they may have to take a year off from holing the race until they finish up on the bridge.
GCR: COOL STUFF For those of us who have been running for many decades, Amby Burfoot is a big proponent of recognizing those who have run over 100,000 miles in their lifetime. I’m closing in on 120,000 miles and I know you have 150,000 miles in your rearview mirror. How is it when you have just run along one day at a time and one week at a time and then, there is this huge number? How does it feel when you realize how far you’ve run and how are your joints holding up?
DM When I began running at age twelve it wasn’t like I had this goal of running 150,000 miles. As you say, its one step at a time and eventually it adds up. Certainly, I ran more miles per day, per week, per month and per year in my twenties and thirties than I am now. So, the accumulation of those miles was a lot more in my first twenty-five years of running than it was in the second twenty-five years of running. I ran hard miles early on and run easy miles now. I’m very fortunate that the knees and joints orthopedically seem to be doing okay. I could be more flexible, but I’m able to still get out there and run and race until this heart issue surfaced. I don’t think that all that running impacted me in a negative way like it did to some of my peers who are currently going through knee replacement surgery or hip replacement surgery. Biomechanically, I think I’m okay on the roads so I’m able to sort of get away with doing these miles without suffering the inevitable consequences that have happened to a lot of other people in my age group. I’m not going to take that for granted. I want longevity so I’m slowing down a bit. I don’t want to overdo it to the point that I make one bad move and then I’m done. I’d like to be doing this for many more years.
GCR: You mentioned that when we started out it was just one step at a time. Could you tell us a bit about your ‘Next Goal – Earn My Own Medal’ program that is targeted toward novice runners and even non-runners who may need a goal?
DM I use that when I do my speaking appearances. I like to know who I’m talking to, so I’ll ask the audience, ‘How many of you run?’ Next I’ll ask if anyone has run a marathon. Then I’ll ask, ‘If you haven’t run a race, raise your hand.’ I’ll bring someone who hasn’t run a race up to the stand and put a medal around their neck. I tell them that what happened just now is what happens at finish lines of races all over America every week. That is, that somebody toed the line and ran the race and crossed the finish line and got a medal that helped them feel good about themselves. I say, ‘That can happen to you too.’ I tell them that part of the act of finishing a race is signing up for a race. On the back of the medal I give them it says, ‘My next goal is to earn my own medal.’ My home address is on the back of the medal. I’ve given out about four hundred of these medals and I’ve received about 390 of them back. What the medals does is let them know that they can do this if they choose to. They take the medal home and it’s a constant reminder that they should get out there and earn their own medal. Also, they know that if they don’t earn their own medal and then send this one back, I can’t give it to somebody else to motivate them. By them running their own race and earning their own medal they are accomplishing two things. They accomplish something on their own and give somebody else the opportunity too. It works!
GCR: We spoke briefly earlier about Dick Hoyt and Rick Hoyt and, for those who don’t know, back in the 1970s Dick Hoyt started pushing his son Rick, who was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, in races. Dick qualified for the Boston Marathon in under 2:50 while pushing Rick in a wheelchair. When we flash forward, they have completed over 1,000 road races, marathons, and triathlons together since 1977. How neat was it in 2015 for you to push Rick in the Harvard Pilgrim ‘Finish at the 50’ 10k that finished at Gillette Stadium?
DM What happened was that I turned sixty and they came to my house that day on my birthday with a lot of other people and were part of my sixtieth birthday run. For a present they gave me a certificate and it was for the opportunity to push Rick in a road race. I never imagined doing that and I chose a race I was directing, the Harvard Pilgrim ‘Finish at the 50’ 10k. I showed up that day and was doing my job and, when it was time for the race, I met up with Rick. I’d never pushed anyone in a wheelchair before. I’ve known Dick and Rick for thirty-five or forty years. It’s interesting as I was their manager at one time, helped them with sponsorships, helped them with their bike and run across the country and helped them get into Ironman. I’ve been very close to them for over thirty-five years, but had never been alone with Rick, just him and I, ever. The gun fired and I was pushing him and realized I was alone with Rick. I was communicating, him and I, as we went along. ‘Remember when you did your first triathlon at Baystate.’ He was getting all excited as we went down memory lane together and I pushed him in the 10k. It was another highlight. After all those years of watching father and son participate, to push Rick and have him as excited about the experience as I was meant a lot to me. When we crossed the finish line at the fifty-yard line in Gillette Stadium, he was so excited about it. Another memorable moment.
GCR: Your dream was to play second base for the Boston Red Sox, which you didn’t do, though you have accomplished many other dreams. Could you tell us a little about the genesis of your book, ‘Dream Big,’ and exciting things being done to promote it and expand its impact on kids?
DM I was doing a talk at an elementary school here in Massachusetts and I spoke to an auditorium of about three hundred. Afterward, I received an e-mail from a woman who was a teacher there who hadn’t experienced anything like at this presentation because the kids were quiet, attentive and inquisitive. She said that after I left the kids were all talking about it. So, she asked me if I had ever thought about writing a children’s book. I told her I thought about it but hadn’t taken the steps. She said, ‘If you decide to, and you need a co-author, I’d be interested.’ I said, ‘Let’s get together.’ We did right away and started brainstorming the whole thing, what we would call it and what it would be about. We came up with the name, ‘Dream Big,’ which would be about the first two experiences of my running background and then becoming a race director. It’s about the whole concept that you can be little, but you can still have big dreams. At the back of the book we have a challenge called the ‘Dream Big Marathon’ where we challenge the kids to read twenty-six books and run twenty-six miles and do twenty-six acts of kindness. The reading is for their education, the running for their heath and fitness, and the acts of kindness for giving back. If the kids do that, we mail them an award. So, thousands of kids across America are doing the ‘Dream Big Marathon.’ I always thought that, if I wrote a book especially for kids, I didn’t want them to read it and then put it down and head out to the playground. I wanted them to read the book and then to have a call to action. I want them to respond to the book and to do something good, set a goal and be the next person to write a book like this. We just finished our second children’s book, called ‘Running Across America,’ for obvious reasons. I like it just as much, if not more, than the first. It will be published soon in August. It will be the second of a series of three to six children’s books we will be writing.
GCR: RACE DIRECTOR THOUGHTS AND TIPS How does race director preparation and being proactive rather than reactive compare to the strategic planning and SWOT analysis that my business colleagues and I use with companies, especially as races have increased in size and complexity?
DM For a big race like the Boston Marathon we are fortunate that it is a well-oiled machine and many aspects of the race don’t change much. We have so many of the same people returning every year to manage various aspects of the event. It does give us the opportunity to dig deeper, do a deep dive and put under a microscope the various areas of the event where we can raise the bar and set the standard. What I enjoy most about Boston is that we aren’t doing basic things but thinking about how to improve upon what we already have in place. That’s what’s great about Boston. My motto had always been that I don’t want to be the one putting out fires, I want to be the one preventing them. It’s all about good vision and anticipating what could occur. We go through hypothetical tabletop situations such as weather challenges so we can be totally prepared for whatever we may face. I always tell my staff to pretend the event is two weeks before the actual event date and to get done early on what they can to give themselves two weeks to deal with unforeseen situations that may present themselves. This gives them the opportunity to take care of twists without being focused on the routine items that they could have accomplished weeks ago. It’s all about the preparation and leaving no stone left unturned. We want to anticipate the worst while we are hoping for the best. It’s an attitude that we can always do better and always do more. Too many people spend their time on plan A and don’t spend much time on plans B, C and D. There are so many people involved and volunteers and moving parts so, at some point, you lose control.
GCR: How does it change when the race begins and you switch from race planning to race execution?
DM At some point, after the gun fires, the control of your event goes into the hands of many, many people. It was in your hands in the planning phase, but now, once the gun fires, there isn’t much you can do any more. It’s rolling on down the road and you’ve got to hope that people at water stations three and eight and ten, and directional volunteers and timing companies are all doing their part. You hope the port-a-john company put them in the right place and on and on and on and on. It’s up to you to make sure all of that is in place early on and that it will hopefully go well. Every morning of a race, I wake up and look at my pillow and say, ‘When I come back in ten hours, I’m going to have a lot of stories to tell you, and I hope they’re good ones.’ I’ve always said that if you get ninety percent of a race going well, it’s like a hundred percent in most other things.’ There is no way to control everything. It’s not possible for everything to go perfectly. Ninety percent is the grand slam.
GCR: I’d like to hear your thoughts on crowd control. Depending on the size of the race, there may be dogs on the course, people running along with the leaders for a short stretch like in the Tour de France, kids accidentally stepping out into the course, and spectators handing out water and other food and drink to runners. How challenging is the unknown of the crowd which is beyond the ability to control?
DM That is a challenge which is why we need to be one step ahead. We can’t avoid it all, but we must be prepared to react when they happen. That is why preparation is so valuable and critical. So much in my world has to do with confidence. We have to have confidence that we are doing the right thing. In many cases there is no right or wrong. There may just be a preference as to how we want to see things go. Sometimes, not to belittle, but at the end of the day, it is only a road race and there are much more important things going on. For those of us who are involved in directing road races, we want to see the best possible outcome, but we can’t control what happens.
GCR: Hydration is so important in all races and it must be a challenge to accommodate the runners, joggers and walkers as some may be running through aid stations or stopping and walking. I remember during the Boston Marathon in 2004 when it was around ninety degrees that I was walking through aid stations and people were running and coming right up on my back. How tough is it to manage the flow of participants through the water and electrolyte replacement stations?
DM At Boston we stagger the water stations so that there is a first set on the right side of the road and a second set on the left side. If you’re running, and you don’t want water, you can move to the other side of the road to avoid the gridlock. We give people who want to drink and walk the opportunity while others can move over to the opposite side of the road. We try to anticipate the runners’ responses to our actions. We could just give instructions to the runners, but they won’t necessarily heed our advice. We must build a better mousetrap and create a situation so that, no matter what the runner does, the race goes unimpeded and no one gets hurt.
GCR: I’ve raced in so many races over the years that I haven’t thought too much about racecourse design. How much work goes into figuring out whether to go through neighborhoods or stay on the main roads, how the course affects elite runners versus the average participants, are there multiple distances – how complicated is it to come up with a new race with all these variables?
DM Designing a racecourse is right up there at the top as one of the biggest challenges of putting on a race. It’s about who we are serving. We are serving the runners. We are serving the community. We are serving the sponsors. There are several constituencies and there is a delicate balance of how much of each one should we consider. Then when we do come up with what we like for a course, there is the question of whether we can get permission to conduct the race. It is a collaborative effort between many constituencies. We must see that all elements are considered: the degree of difficulty for the runners, aesthetics, safety, and more come into play. Going into a race, we might have a vision of the course, but we have no idea where it will end up. There is also the concept of convenience as point-to-point races are more challenging than out-and-back or loop courses. The latter two eliminate transportation needs for the participants and gear transportation. I’d rather manage a race that has the start and finish in the same place rather than a point-to-point race. Sometimes race organizers may want a point-to-point race to showcase their entire community, so it is a delicate balance between who is involved in the planning, what the objectives are and what are the priorities.
GCR: RECOGNITION AND AWARDS Since you have been involved in the sport for so many years, groups are recognizing you with Lifetime Achievement Awards. A couple I noted are in 2015 at the Road Race Management Race Directors' Meeting and this year at the 80th Annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. How humbling and neat is it to be recognized for your efforts over the years?
DM The way I look at it is there is no such thing as an individual achievement. I may be the recipient of the plaque, but the reality is there are a whole lot of people that helped me get to this spot, this place of recognition. It is an overused cliche, but I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with, I associate with, I work with, my family and my friends – those who have sacrificed to allow my to do what I do. It means a lot to me to get an award like these because I give it up to everyone involved and say, ‘We got this – not me.’ I think it does also inspire those who are coming up through the ranks because people do recognize when you do something special or you do something for other people. It does get recognized. Don’t think that people are oblivious to a hard work ethic or to those who are doing things for the right reasons. Getting those recognitions is humbling, they are appreciated, and they motivate me to continue to do more.
GCR: In 2017 you were inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Long Distance Running Hall of Fame. Some inductees, like Bill Rodgers, go in because of his many major marathon wins, or like Jon Sinclair, are enshrined because of so many road race wins. You have a combination of endurance feats and you work as a race director. How nice is it to be in the company of the group you are now a part of at the RRCA Hall of Fame?
DM Again, being associated with and put on the same plateau with people I have followed and admired through their entire career and given a spot next to them is a humbling experience for sure. But I always think about the future and there are those who are following in my footsteps and someday are going to be standing there with us. It’s all about showing by example and not just expecting things but earning them.
GCR: When we talk about what you do and how it impacts people, you went to Medford High School and Merrimack College, where you were the valedictorian and class president, and now years later you have spoken at commencement exercises at both schools. You were there years ago and now you are a position to have an impact on these young people. What do you say to these young kids who are yearning for a snippet of great advice?
DM It means a lot. My commencement speeches aren’t ones where I talk about politics or world peace. I talk more about them as individuals and the concept of setting goals and not limits. The worst injustice you can ever do to yourself is to underestimate your own ability. I talk about many things I say in my normal speaking appearances and, basically, it’s all about them. The most important person in the world is you. We all have something in common: we all woke up this morning and we didn’t have a lot to do with that. Look at everything that happens throughout each day. Every day is a gift and we should make the most of it. These are the kind of things I leave behind to grab a hold of and try to inspire them and to get them out there to do something. People have asked me what I want to be when I grow up. I saw a billboard along the highway, and it said, ‘Accomplish.’ That’s it. That’s what I want to do, to be an ‘accomplisher,’ to set a goal, accomplish it, check it, and move on to the next one. That’s the way I think I’ve lived my life and that’s a message I’d like to leave behind.
GCR: CLOSING COMMENTS Are there any other thoughts you would like to express about what you’ve learned in the past five years as you went through you initial heart issue and worked to change some of your lifestyle choices, getting into your sixties and experiencing heart surgery and then what you hope to accomplish as you move into the next five to ten years of your life?
DM For me now there is the whole concept of heart illness and driving through the point in the fitness world that you and I live in, that just because you are fit doesn’t mean you are healthy. Over the years, I’ve had seven friends of mine go out for a run and never come home. I don’t know what happened to them - were they in denial? Did they think they could punch through it? Why didn’t they respond? I feel like the most vulnerable people on this planet could be the most fit people on this planet. If you feel something, then do something. It’s that awareness that I want to get across to people. Just recently I received an e-mail from a friend, an endurance athlete, who didn’t feel right. He had thought about my message and thought he should get checked out. He walked out soon afterward with a stent. The e-mail said, ‘Dave, you saved my life.’ So, I guess at the end of the day, with due respect to all my accomplishments that I am proud of, if I can help save lives, it doesn’t get any better than that.
  Inside Stuff
Favorite ice cream flavor I typically don’t eat ice cream any more since my heart issue. But when I do, it’s vanilla
Pump up pre-race music Instrumental music - because if I listen to any popular songs, they become embedded in my head and I can’t get rid of them. That may sound crazy, but instrumental music motivates me, and I don’t get stuck with them. That’s what works for me
Favorite Saturday Night Live Character I liked Chevy Chase and always got a kick out of his antics and one-liners
Last book you read ‘Dream Big’
Chore you hate doing Since it is family related, there is no chore that I don’t do. But what I like doing the least is picking up after others when they leave stuff lying all over the place. I’m a neat freak. I constantly have to chase after putting things where they belong, so that’s the one
Always in your fridge Fruit
Your favorite cartoon The Road Runner
Top mentors in your life My parents
Your most useless talent I’m good at yo-yo tricks
The dumbest way you’ve been injured On the sidewalk where there are the little lips, I’ve been shuffling along and then down I go. I’ve done that numerous times. When I do it in front of people it is the most embarrassing thing in the world. Usually, I’m more embarrassed than injured. But once I broke a couple ribs when I was running, tripped on the sidewalk and down I go
Best music concert you ever attended Cold Play
Nervous meeting anyone for the first time Never. I don’t idolize anyone. I respect people for their stature and how they got to where they are, but don’t necessarily look at them with awe and get nervous about meeting them
Your favorite movie lines There are two Tom Hanks quotes. From ‘Forrest Gump’ – ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.’ From ‘A League of Their Own’ – ‘There’s no crying in baseball!’
Toilet paper roll over or under I’m a definite ‘under.’ I don’t know why
Your last selfie was with The Governor of Massachusetts. We took it together, but he is the one who took the picture because my hand wouldn’t go up that far
Something you learned this week I’m out in Nevada and Utah so I’m learning a lot about geology
What does it mean to live a good life To have those people who have heard of you and know you consider that you are an honest, giving, compassionate, trustworthy person