Dave McGillivray Run Across America 1978

It was 35 years ago today that Medford, Mass. native Dave McGillivray completed his 80-day Run Across America from Medford, Oregon to Fenway Park to raise money for Boston’s Jimmy Fund.  It wasn’t the first nor the last ultra-distance trek by the man who today directs the Boston Marathon, Beach to Beacon 10K, Falmouth Road Race, and many more events nationwide, but it remains his most famous.

In an excerpt from the archives of Runner’s Digest Radio, here’s our day nine report on Dave’s 3,452 miles through 11 states that finished with two laps around Fenway Park before the start of a Red Sox — Seattle Mariners game on August 29, 1978.

In a testament to his organizational skills and future profession, Dave wrote to city officials in every jurisdiction through which he planned to run to alert them to his timetable, a herculean task in itself.  Dave’s run raised $150,000 for the Jimmy Fund, but more than that helped raise its profile beyond New England.

And just to show the run wasn’t simply the lunatic act of a youthful over-achiever, Dave continued to keep his hand in the over-do-it business via his annual birthday run.  Earlier this month he extended his ritual of running one mile for every candle on his birthday cake for the 47th straight year (he began at age 12).

Congrats, Dave, on this historic moment in the growth of advocacy running.  Now please sit down and show us you can relax, as well.  You (and we) have earned it.



  1. Thanks for the memory, Tony. I also lived in Medford (Ma) at that time and had only been a runner for a few years. Who can forget Dave running around the bases on TV!
    Congrats on your birthday run, Dave!

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