WEEI>On Demand>>Boston marathon director Dave McGillivray

Boston marathon director Dave McGillivray

Aug 21, 2013|

Dave McGillivray relived a day we will never forget. He discussed the day through the eyes of the man who was directing the marathon.

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It's our number three Dennis and Callahan I tell you the phone number actually what type -- phone number because -- -- the fault lines -- give you an opportunity to talk with our special in studio guest at 617. 7797937. By way -- a little personal. And long term history I first laid eyes on Dave -- you'll -- who has I'm sure you know. Is the race director for the BA in the Boston Marathon in about nine million other world class events across the globe. A back in 1978 he decided he was going to run from Medford to Medford. Just like east -- for the West -- that was -- for organ to Medford Massachusetts to raise money for the Jimmy Fund he also did an East Coast race I believe the year after that. I was a young upcoming reporter for sports reporter for channel seven you're young upcoming. Runner. So I don't Dave McGill brick and Andre Agassi miles under the belt a lot of miles and he that no worse for the Wear. And I just didn't. He's. Just say you know he's he's mania. He's not of sound mind yours you -- just a lunatic because. On your birthday every year you run a mile for every year. You've been on this planet. Which is okay when -- seventeenth when it doesn't do it and even that's a little bit much but now you're 59. And the other day you -- 59 bleep miles idea. And you said it wasn't that hard. Army obvious when I was twelve I decide to do this than I didn't think it would necessary continuing. You know open an X 47 years -- when I was -- -- smoke and at the time. And obviously is getting exponentially more typical I gotta go further and am older. But that's the challenge of all and no maybe next year albeit who knows my game my rules as I wrote my book show will we'll see where I'll play along this track. That you Luke -- well right. You know I used to run a marathon course when I turned like 26 in America and when I turn 27 nice that it at the one mile mark and then me and the whole marathon course and I kept on doing that for about twenty years. And -- back in a marathon course and then that just got really difficult so now I just do like cut three and a half mile loop. -- -- -- House numbers well the funny thing is that last year when I was doing that run. There was some construction workers building Stonewall. At a neighbor's house and went by at like 7 in the morning wave and came -- again weighed. Twenty minutes they came by again and weighed in. When he mets' epic game -- game rate -- After about five -- of that elect. What the heck you don't nuts and and I explained to -- All you know so but I think they set an -- -- respectful way so you think sixty might be the bail out time you're sixty and called on quips yeah I mean again even though it may seem as you call me a lunatic. I don't want her -- though. You know maybe I have to change the rules I'll do something maybe run a marathon in my prepay every year for the rest and -- the essence of Dave as the. Planner not Dave the runner is that he is the most organized person on the face of the earth and he chose. This birthday to coincide with the best running day possible lock stride it was a cool -- -- -- I mean September like day back in August I used -- -- -- On the exact for my birthday is actually tomorrow I'll ice on super dog her on a second and down but then when I turned forty. I wanted to celebrate it with a lot of friends and my birthday was on a Monday I want to ever -- priorities I did it on the Sunday so -- Brokeback. So our streak of doing it on the exact birthday yes I change through and I said either side a week of either side of the birthday itself and then I usually end up picking up. Picking the best day possible weather wise because I need to have that in my -- get through this. And you did this year now the other traditional date has mistakes as to where we really want to get too. Is that after you know months and months of of tedious arduous planning for the Boston Marathon. And a day that I'm sure is probably pretty close to 24 hour long. When the marathon is over -- tradition is he runs from Hopkinton to Boston on the marathon course once all the runners finished right means you finished. Dark. -- then and in the dark my guess is that this year based on the events of April 15 were little bit different. Yeah -- obviously didn't do it on that day yes and I stop at this because when you know I got the operative director race I was like. That was 26 years ago. I had run their run at fifteen years around in so I had to make our decision to -- running and are running. And I need the money psyched up to job and then but I had made a commitment to my grandfather. Yes prior to that was actually buried on the marathon course at the evergreen cemetery it's a long story but. So I made a commitment that I'd run this race for the rest of my life in tribute in memory of a -- and when he taught me about earning the right to do it. I've made that decision that that that I wanted to job and after every once out of finishing. I had this really. Not in my stomach saying hey something's missing here and I tapped -- state police to -- a children a sinking to repay became drag me back up and not opting to and he said why would. If we get -- them. As -- got -- -- around in the race and so he brought me out there and I finished at 11 o'clock at night mom and I've been doing that now for the last 26 year. OK so obviously didn't run on the day of the race on mark on enough on April 15 USA said the master of preparedness but even all of Europe you know crossing the t.s and dotting the -- and all your great preparation. Could not get you ready for what happened in new kick -- chronologically. In terms of where you were what you were doing how you found out and then what happened after that when the word got to the restricted something horrible happened at the finish. Sure well again last year as conditions were awful in 89 degrees. And doubt -- Lotta people transported a lot of people treated in medical -- lot of people decided to defer it to 2013. So we were open for really good weather day this year and we got. I mean I woke up that morning -- out you know -- 34 o'clock in the morning and I said we deserve this week -- Everything was a composite and so -- Hopkins and I go. I do my thing and get everything ready for the start then. The Iowa you know mobility MP -- in the wheelchairs that elite women's gotten weighed one and all that was going extremely well no issues with transportation no we issues which historically everything perfect. I get on the lead motorcycle I go down course with the lead men and just make sure that that's all going well who and it was going perfectly. And then crossed the finish line up the motorcycle. Watch the finish and and I walked the service area where all the medals and blankets and baggage and I'll be distributed. That's all perfect. I went and medical -- very little. Carnage if you will it's going to well it's it's great everything it's like the best one ever. And and I went into the you know hotel and press room everything's going great. So then when I typically do is I use the text Tom broke with the executive director say hate you know don't -- we got a great team. I'm not leaving the troops but on the air you know I had my phone had my two way radio I'm within you know -- button away. Is it okay for me to take off and -- -- -- can distort your run to start my round right and that was around 130. And so he text me back two words that will designate. In my mind for the rest night he said -- In other words it was a real strong. Voice of confidence that everything's greatness yet go ahead you can. So I got got the vehicle and drove out to Hopkinton. And out the Hopkinton at 247. Room. That it stretching Olympic ready to take -- is to state police motorcycles waiting for me just on their -- they do this I don't -- are just that. That's got me down coolest. And -- satin. Someone called my cellphone and told me what had happened at the finish. To what extent of details that first call they say something bad happened did they know the details of couple bombs off base they used the word bomb they said. They said a bomb went -- at the fact that the first response was. -- any time I get information like that especially during the race it's not about information it's about credible yes -- is this real. And how I find out how to write. -- determined I need to do something I don't wanna overreact and make it worth it if it's something I mean this is the very different. So then I realized that you know this is probably true and then it was shock. And then it was more. My families at the finish. Martin now I'd throw it out personal my two kids and my wife sitting in the bleachers. Now the first thing I'd it was made a phone call to them and I couldn't get a hold them so now I'm getting really nervous about there will be room. So I didn't even -- wasn't even you know let me think about not running now -- -- -- to run -- like Canada and get there. So we went up to the state police to prison. They weren't even aware that at the moment this is only minutes after and so we asked them instead of escorting us down -- When you thank you Ian head down I can get me back to the finish area is produced by. That they did going about a hundred miles an hour we went down the man on a motorcycle. Well we were following the motorcycle in a parent there in the motorcycles you know on them but you know on the record about SE. But I don't think that's right back and twenty minutes. I get into the security area we know what else was allowed him. But because I had went to asleep at the state police troopers with I was able to get right into that security area. I hope -- and street area at the time it was totally evacuated and it was surreal because. What happens on -- three while our services are right in the middle -- but because they had to get emergency vehicles. All of pontifical push everything to the side of the road. So it almost looked like you know onto -- off. All over the place because everything was -- -- you know when that was the first time I was singing. So. You know I I took a gulp instead my goodness what is happening -- and then the first thing I just -- out of the vehicle birthplace I went with the medical. I just need it to see what was going on. I saw when I saw. You know I -- some of the victims and what not and but I also knew that. I would is of no help in America went away -- Madison so I just checked in with a medical director. He said you know we're working on this -- OK and that I left the front of the medical tent and it went to grow up to the bleachers to see if I confine my family. And I get stopped by police. And that's when I realized this whole thing -- out of my control. You know I am like in my -- of -- this is this is my race -- I act. -- stop -- can stop me were I don't know last I have a path at the but things out -- -- you know I I can no longer ago where I want oh and and hit me again. You know the defining moments during the day where were amazing. So that I said well. My job is the director -- you know not public safety and not now so go there and I. I have run as I have to take Europe so I went down both misty that boils from Berkeley. And that's when I. Effectively went back to work where I was trying to get runners. Along dollar bond is this isn't just this isn't about me it's about all the people. The team the organizing committee the volunteers the team captains they responded you hear all about the first responders running to the bombs. -- and you don't hear a lot about all that. Volunteers. Really staying within the area. And -- Who knows what could have been around so we were just basically trying to reunite. Runners with there loved ones with this cell phones with a bag that's John what about your loved ones. -- -- So they weren't every what was told to evacuate the beaches so they went off the bleachers on to -- industry. And they were just sitting on a current because they didn't know win -- go from. And you didn't know if there were alive were or did I hadn't until you saw them -- -- I finally was able to connect my cellphone as it were I you. And now their vehicle was in the down John Hancock -- one and plant in street garage so. They couldn't get their vehicle that was on lockdown -- that they had no way to get home. So -- what they wouldn't they had no place the -- And then eventually a friend was they are able to help them and put him in a car and bring them home. So so they went home that night I obviously state for the next couple nights. So that the plot even Pickens. And with that we've set the stage of a remarkable day in Boston city history and take a quick time I'm gonna falafel and talk with you and I'll go to the stepped beyond that looking at what happened at that point on and also now. -- -- What's going to happen next -- Tuesday quick time out right back with Dave -- pre BAA and Boston Marathon athletic director Boston Marathon race director when we come back. Welcome back Dennis and Callahan very very happy to have our good friend via Boston athletic and Boston Marathon race director Dave McGill -- With sort of a chronological set the stage of how things began to unfold through his size. As the race to record this past Boston Marathon and historic and tragic -- to be sure and left us all hang in public that he's the radio professionals can only dream -- in the middle this first at length radio interviews since the distance the events of April -- -- where were a year on you find your family. I contact them I thought I had I had hadn't seen them at all so when I'm when I'm driving that is. As much as it was tragic that people were physically her. I am you know at the finish there are a lot of victims of this tragedy and emotional victims. Mentally scarred victims and it could be people watching it. In another country where impacted by -- and once that ball was over and I went home a couple of days later I'm my son Luke who's seven is old. Come up demean gave me a -- and and and he said Tammy. Data I don't ever want you don't. Direct that race. And does in his mind. It was dangerous. And he saw what he's sure. I didn't even. Though that really affected me too and I have to make choices you know -- -- try to counsel on a delight he took his item is ideas that. Stay out of harms way or use it as a teaching moment right exactly into it that's what we chose to do and oh about five weeks six weeks later he come up to me again. The end he said dad -- to -- I didn't want it -- -- him as a guy says you know why. That why that he says. As I want it. And I just felt like OK that was -- appalling -- sure bet and it says that were all recovering and we won't. Given to Tara and next year's race is going to be as the president has a bigger and better and we're all gonna rally and ever since this incident current. People think that well what happened -- -- -- is not going to other races. Just the opposite is happening races are selling out even -- a record pace. Run as will not be denied their running freedom and this industry is is at an all time high in terms of enthusiasm and passion. And desire to continue to participate. Can't even get my mind around the 2014. Boston Marathon. Did you planning -- here. Forethought and begin like five minutes after the -- when the man that's soon but am not long after this race not long after he recovered. Physically mentally had to be taken. How do we do this next year. If things always happen in in stages so obviously right after April 15 a first thoughts -- -- to the victims and ensure that. They were taking care of and then to our own customers all the runners and making a determination as to OK what do we do about the people 5600 -- Didn't finishing and coincidentally we opened registration for them on Monday. And we invited all of those who didn't get to finish. I -- to register early and attend a period so they're doing that right now and and so. So it's -- happens and in phases and now we're getting into okay what will 2014. Really be and not a best know. Sitting here right now exactly what it is because. You know New -- the London -- and that one city. The Boston Marathon there's only. Only two point six miles of the Boston Marathon in Boston people forget that there are other 78. Seven other cities and towns and they -- agencies and jurisdictions and so now the -- is a lot of approval process typical two. We worked with public safety officials the executive office of public safety the Massachusetts emergency management agency all -- public safety officials. And we have to work in collaboration with them and get approvals from all that so it takes time. And quick close but we're not a 100% the air as to exactly what next year will be but. As the president said it most likely will be bigger and -- do you think it's going to be -- most runners of any marathon in the city ever even more than. -- -- -- Don't know I mean I I it my senses that'll be more then what it has been over the last few years what that exact number is is what we're really working on right now -- -- hope is that were able to come to that decision with within a very short period of time. I believe if my math is correct the 100 anniversary had about 38000 and change your route if you -- the doors open it just opened the doors and sent anybody wants to come and come -- any idea based on the response you've heard so far David what that number would be if you just let it open enrollment. It's tough to say I mean I. I directories and Singapore a couple of years ago they had 60000 in Paris issues and that's Singapore and and in Singapore banned this thing and yeah so with the Boston Marathon obviously you know as a qualification. Require minimum so if you. Just allowed every qualifier. To participate that number would be staggering imagined saying okay it would eliminate the qualifying time together and just allow anyone and everyone who wanted to run in America could -- run. Impossible epidemic this race was built you know handwritten seventeen years that and we have no more real estate today to conduct this event that I had. And years ago when they had hundred people and so it's really about two things. It's about real estate space to have in time I'm on the road and the other thing people forget is held on Monday. And no other marathon world has held on Monday and as a result. Patriots eight years ago was a strong holiday is not as strong now. 5060 guys were on patriots day. Yeah as it is about -- credit reports that I know but the point is that a lot of people go to work and -- this race goes right through the spine of of a lot of cities in town so we have to be considerate. Of all that and that's why this is you know very complex. Animal to kinda where QA around -- be considerate. Insensitive to all the constituencies and ball. Before you make a final decision and runners can you tolerant can handle well. I guess we discourage people from running and officially -- but. You know Hopkinton -- -- -- you can't just prevent people from coming in. -- we discovered that the -- we did so at a hundred. Significantly campaign was please don't please don't and not many did I'm. On -- regular year basis you could have a few thousand people that might jump in but I'm. A lot of people -- -- jumping and along the way running with your loved ones this though when we're trying to discovered that too because they all end up cross the finish line and they get. You know -- gets gridlocked -- and not safe and it's not fair to those who are on the right tend to do that kind of a thing though. So the hope is that we especially for next year we we really -- discouraged being in the participation in and people. You know what discouraged the woman's won the woman winner hoops that you notion gonna come back you know who's going to be safe who. I -- stay home we -- you we get you know a million other people who love to de LA and giving. Everyone has -- make their own personal decisions as to what they want it to them. As a write that thing anyway if you want today. Are there any hard and fast plans you can share -- such as physical memorial at the finish line I assume that at some point whether that's been decided nauert sometime down the road there will be some sort of physical memorial the two sides of the bombs were lost their lives lost limbs. -- again. The Boston Marathon yet it's a BAA of that but it's really. The way I look at it is it's it's owned by the community and you know the city may wanna do things businesses may wanna do things -- -- me wanna do things that are going to be probably more things happening. In tribute and remembrance. And then we focus on the map goal is. Not to changed the fabric of who we are and what we stand for and that is the pursuit of athletic excellence. And we wanna make sure the Boston Marathon maintains a level quality. -- -- that got us where we Tuesday. And I think -- runners agree with -- so that's our focus. But we also recognize that the days leading up to the marathon will be the days to sort of tribute to. And so. Again we don't know specifically what they'll be but certainly going to be a collaboration between the city and other entities. To do what's right who will sing the anthem for instance. You know the words. I think just decisions like that since so witty next year. And we don't know -- haven't even got into the weeds like that we're trying to determine what it's going to be verses who's missing the -- at them I mean that'll come out down the road but. The other thing is that that there are people who have been working in. Helping with the marathon for 10203040. Years. And so we want to be loyal to them too and if someone has sung the anthem for thirty years like. State trooper Danny Clark you know it's not like what a yank someone press somebody else just about right fiancee wants to do it's hard -- -- we. -- we haven't got to that point yet so those decisions will have to be made on the road. The FBI assume or other federal and at agencies are involved now like never before right and they're gonna have to be involved because security has that this. The security aspect has changed completely. Well that's a direct about ten races since Boston and of course. All of them have been more vigilant. About you know enhance security and more visible. But at this at this delicate balance here I mean in terms of what. What what public safety wants to do to ensure. Safety of the participants in the general public coming to the event but at the same time not so put limitations to parameters around it that. It it ceases to become what it what it's meant to be yet and that's a competitive environment a fun time you know that those sorts of -- Did we go over a collect call you control freak I mean that in the nicest kindest possible way that it's a way of saying that your organized and you take care every single detail. But it has has at some point since the events of April 15 it hit you that. There are just certain things no matter how much play no matter how much preparation no matter how many redundant systems you have in place. But there are certain things that are just totally and completely out of your control no matter how hard you work at it. For the race in the gun goes off. I really think Tom -- edit really well -- executive director and solid about preparedness. And you know. Anyone can do event management you know you just decide how many tables and -- in -- he has and pick a left ticker right now and he wrote columns but. If you're really prepared before the gunfire. Then event management can turn into crises management puts you in a position we have then you can focus on things that you might not have expected. And that's a true testament to our team that the level of experience and preparedness of the team is what. Save the day for us in terms of getting all those running as safely reunited. And safely off the course we know running as really got. -- in the race. -- -- -- -- one -- got knocked over yes why is I have but the point is is that you know the team. The medical team the public safety teen volunteer team. They all responded and they responded because of the -- level of preparedness and confidence in themselves and what they need to do and they stayed the course they didn't run away from it and they -- applies to thank. And we've talked about this doesn't make -- Richard Finley feeling better -- omens for that matter but. How much worse it could've been you've seen those crowns and when you first term and to think. I mean this could bend this could have been. In what they're with they were open for what and with the terrorists hundreds or was a hundred times worst than it actually was. And I think that -- time. You know is special with your kids and you -- I wanna you know wanna be little what happened because it was it was terrific but at the same time. You think about what it could have been and at least to say. Lives were saved. Because of the personnel. Because of where it happened right I mean -- happened only hundreds of feet from a major medical tent with a thousand medical person. You know verses Campbell square some growth -- would have been different had it happened at -- -- like. You tell me I think there's not the medical. Facilities. Like at the -- and nobody who made it to the hospital. Nobody is everything everyone get transported to hospital -- in. -- admitted that. Only times over the years was this sort of worst case scenario discussed during the year to year planning mean was it ever really I guess maybe after 2001. The 2000 to marathon. -- I really can't talk about you know stuff that's discussed you know in our security security staff but. You know we do go through hypothetical table -- exercise about everything about whether there lightening. It buses get trapped on the Mass Pike -- oh. What's that delay time when and we know how long can we delay -- -- race yet before we epic caught -- Mean as all of those kinds of things we play out its plan BC DEE in half and that's not just planet that has so much more going on and every plan in place to maybe make it easier for an American to win because I mean I'm holding out hope you do. Trainers out of hand her I keep coming in the second. A caller to Paulson Watertown your next with a BAA in Boston Marathon race director Dave McGill the morning Paul. Well things. And the question -- -- I was wondering now what we've been nice if we had the last mile of the marathon. Didn't he not religious -- mile. It would give it an incentive when these guys people who are not the greatest runners who -- trying to finish this year that's fine and just. -- raced to the finish line. I mean. All great ideas we've received literally hundreds of them and you know. We can't do everything so what will do is we'll take all these ideas and suggestions and put him on a list and see what we can -- can't do what's reasonable what isn't. What thing -- got to mention is sound and it. It was amazing that. The issue is race we where doing and contribute. What happened in the shootings in Connecticut yes and for the very first time. At the stat we app while maybe not for the first time by. We had a moment assignments. And a moment silence with a little bit before the gunfire written. It was deafening in the sense that. It was so quiet in Hopkinton. And we were just thinking about what happened in Connecticut. And then at the 26 mile mark we had a special -- six mile banner. In tribute to the -- expect yes there. And and some people never got that. See that you know so we made an attempt to to do something special. For the victims of another tragedy and then we experience our own but that -- is a pop hits that is up point. There is there's literally hundreds of suggestions as to what we might think of doing. And we're gonna have to think long and had about. What we should or shouldn't can't our camp and then come up with a handful of them and hopefully implement. Backtracking just a bit this falls on the the auspices of the guise of vote what might have been had you not decided to go out and run the Boston Marathon as you do every year when it's over. And had you been in place near the finish line to be given any thought to where you would have been when the bombs went off. What you've been. Right there. Probably yeah yeah probably. It it's tough to say -- my job. You know -- A phenomenon occurs after -- -- and raise those of us who manage it. You know -- almost like the management aspect of it goes out of my hands and into the hands of all the volunteers in -- of people that. You know been planning this -- so effectively. I don't have a lot to do. You know after the gunfire and and that's a sign of I would like to think appropriately there was relegated well. So I was just walking around observing so it is that I probably would have been if not right at the finish line right right in the area. -- can you could you run while crying while weeping like a name because that's -- requirement next year I've got that many times you just have to many times humanity emotionally solid you know from start to finish the signs the pictures and posters and play records and planes flying over. I can't imagine the human drama who's gonna play out. Particularly the finish line where it's always kind of dramatic anyway. Next year I mean there's not going to be a dry -- in the world. For people watching this. Yeah you're probably right I also hope that people. Not just emotionally breakdown but also. Rise to the occasion and pumped their fists that. You know that they weren't denied and that they were able to come back and a strong way and you know show the world that you know we again we will not be denied -- running freedoms so. It will be an extraordinary. Experience. Let's wrap it up with this back were restarted as a result of the events of April 15 you weren't able to. Continue your tradition of running when it was over. Have you since finished the run at you can be completed at circle and and house -- real must that have been whenever you did do it if you have done it. The run that race as opposed to the day of the race but sometime after. Do you think guided I think you'd -- yeah I think however I don't you -- No I mean like all the -- do it eleven days later eleven yeah I felt I needed to wait until. Out of respect for the victims and what was going on in the feelings in the -- -- patent. And then I want to wait until boils and street reopened. Now so like a rundown there initially instead of you know. So I stuck out. You know with a friend Josh Adams Aaron and I went out to Hopkinton and it was this guy and tell anyone in -- media didn't tell anyone that was a very personal private thing. And just my son Ryan and Josh his son Aaron we're the only two following us and vehicles and took care of us along the way. Josh and I just we and the whole thing in and crossed the finish line -- it was my -- 41. Consecutive Boston. So -- am. I just had put closure. On it for myself too although you know really might focuses. Now not me it's it's everyone else -- but. I have a -- -- and I have emotions too and I I have to. -- -- do what I need to do to remain strong so I can completely detached you know from from a follow it. Fascinating story from the inside looking out the racetrack for the Boston Marathon and now it's time to get back to work I'm sure you already have you got to get your hands full between now and ex patriots they gave thanks for spend some time -- in the storage place at the government Dennis and Callahan we'll be right.

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