Dave has told his story many times and you can read about the many challenges he has overcome in his book The Last Pick: The Boston Marathon's Race Director's Road to Success. When Dave titles his book "The Last Pick" he is referencing a most difficult part of his childhood. You see, Dave was a great athlete who dreamed of being a professional athlete some day, however he had one problem, he was too small. He was always the last pick for pickup games at recess and coaches didn't want such a small player on his team.
Dave tells this story for children in his new book Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination. He tells about his dream to be a professional athlete and his dismay at being too short to play on teams. He eventually decides to try running and finds out that he is good at it. His grandfather encourages him in his endeavors, but dies before ever seeing Dave finish the Boston Marathon. Dave started a streak of running Boston for many years before becoming its race director. He couldn't run the race once he was in charge of everything about it, so he decided to run the race later at night after all the runners were finished and his race directing duties were over. He calls it the Midnight Run. He continues with this streak every year till this day. I know, I ran it with him in the year 2000, when my school district would not let me take a personal day to run the marathon which I had qualified for. You can see us finish in this news video.
|Dave just finished with his race directing duties for the 2000 Boston Marathon|
and I just finished a full day of teaching as we shook hands before starting out
on the Boston Marathon Midnight Run.
Dave's new book is a picture book for kids and I wasn't sure how if would go over with my fifth graders this year when I decided to read it to them. They did not know my history with Dave McGillivray either, but they did know about the marathon and one of my many boy's fathers had run the race in the past (last year I had 14 boys and 5 girls in my class). When I started reading the first page and Dave wrote, "I dreamed of being an athlete, a professional athlete. I'd shoot hoops for the Celtics, play second base for the Red Sox and score touchdowns for the Patriots," the boys in my class started shouting out, "That's me...that's what I want to do!" I knew right away they were thoroughly hooked on the story. They enjoyed hearing about Dave's determination and his love for his grandfather and the fact that he is buried at a spot near the 21 mile mark of the race. When Dave passes the spot each year, he smiles and gives a wave to his grandfather. At that point, I tell them I know this is true,because that is exactly what he did when I ran the Midnight Run with him! My kids were even more excited to hear that I knew Dave and had run with him.
This was a great book to read to my fifth graders as it talks about following your passion, doing the hard work, and having the determination to reach your goals. My students felt that Dave was once a child like them that faces problems that they can't fully control, but he turned into a hero, by finding his own way to fulfill his dreams.
I recently produced a 20 card Boom Learning review activity for this story. Teachers can use these to monitor the understanding of students who read the book. Students enjoy using the Boom Cards to practice their reading comprehension. You can find them here:
Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination no prep Digital BOOM CARDS.
Here is more information on Dave's other achievements.
One thing that I appreciated about this book is the call to action at the end. Young readers are encouraged to pursue their own "Dream Big" Marathon. They can run 26 miles in smaller workouts, read 26 books, or produce 26 acts of kindness. Here is the website for the challenge. Children who complete all three challenges can even get a medal from Dave.