Dave's Open Road
Isolated Defining Moment (0:59)
You Just Run (0:24)
Combining Hobby and Passion (2:04)
Vertically Challenged (1:22)
Public Television: Season 4
athlete, athletics, basketball, defining moments, grandfather, learning, marathon, Philanthropy, run across the country, running, short, training, work ethic
When Dave McGillivray realized that his high-school basketball coach could not appreciate his athletic ability, he decided to find another way to achieve his goal of becoming an athlete. At that moment, he chose running instead. Unprepared for the Boston Marathon he ran shortly thereafter, Dave collapsed after 17 miles and had to be rushed to the hospital. Although he felt he had failed, his wise grandfather made him aware of a valuable lesson: He couldn't go through life setting reckless goals, but with proper training he could achieve great things. Dave made a commitment to train for the next marathon and to look for his grandfather during the race. Unfortunately, his grandfather died before the next race. Dave competed anyway; this time he collapsed after about 20 miles. Feeling like a failure once again, he looked up and noticed that he had reached the cemetery where his grandfather was buried, a sign that his grandfather had showed up for the race after all. That realization gave Dave the strength he needed to get up and finish the marathon. He vowed to run the Boston Marathon every year for the rest of his life to pay tribute to what his grandfather had taught him. Thirty-five years later, Dave has run every race since. After training for almost three years, he ran 3,452 miles in 80 consecutive days without a break, averaging about 50 miles a day. He started in Medford, Ore., and ended in Medford, Mass. Cheering crowds awaited him at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.