Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray talks about new 10K Across the (Chesapeake) Bay

November 02, 2013|By Don MarkusThe Baltimore Sun

Dave McGillivray, the race director for the Boston Marathon since 1988 who has been involved in several other road-running events throughout the country, has taken on a new challenge as director of the 10K Across The Bay in November 2014. Five thousand participants have preregistered, and general registration begins Nov. 9. McGillivray talked with The Baltimore Sun about the new Maryland event that will start at the Western shore near the Bay Bridge and finish near Terrapin State Park.

In terms of planning for a first-year event, how much different is it getting ready for the Bay Bridge Race than other races you have run, including the Boston Marathon?

Getting ready for any first-year event is always challenging but exciting at the same time. The anticipation of what is about to happen can be both nerve-wracking and inspiring at the same time. To create something from nothing, like giving birth, is quite special. For Boston, I am simply a "caretaker" ... It was here before me, and it will still be here long after I am gone.

The organizers are billing the race as "the coolest race" in the country. What attracted you to get involved given how many other events you currently run or help run?

It's always fun to be involved in something unique, something very different. Doing the "same old, same old" can make you complacent. This race will certainly have its unique challenges, but that is what event directors like me live for.

There have already been 5,000 runners signed up in the event's preregistration with a maximum set for 20,000. If you receive even more interest, is there a possibility that you can increase the number of participants for 2014? If not, do you see it increasing in the future?

Frankly, when a field size is set, I personally like to stick with that rather than follow a moving target. It is a numbers game nowadays. To change that number midstream can wreak havoc. As for increasing the field size in the future, as long as it is done progressively and in stages and does not jeopardize the integrity of the event, then I don't see why controlled growth can't be considered.

Given the tragedy that occurred in April in Boston, have you and other race directors been forced to overhaul your approach to fan and participant safety going into any event, and what has been done in particular with the Bay Bridge race?

Given the tragedy at Boston, just about every race is rethinking what it needs to do to keep something like that from ever happening again. Every race needs to determine its own level of security. That being said, we all need to leave those decisions in the capable hands of our public safety officials.

What is the biggest difference between a 10K event such as the Bay Bridge race and a marathon in terms of preparation?

There are many common elements to producing a 10K versus a marathon, but there are also many significant differences, too. A marathon will usually require more resources, more volunteers, a greater budget and significantly more time. Usually when planning a race, it is the course that is the biggest challenge. As for this race, most of the course is just "straight ahead on a bridge" so not a lot of directional signage [is] needed here. It will be the traffic, parking and transportation aspects of this event that will be the biggest challenge.

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