EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 5, 2013

The man and his race: Marathon director reflects on his experience in wake of bombings

Race director Dave McGillivray of North Andover, reflects on the day Boston Marathon changed forever


“My first reaction was shock and disbelief. I remember thinking, Is this credible? Was she sure? But before long I knew we had to go back. We jumped back in the car and the two state police troopers on motorcycles gave us an escort to Boston. I think we went the 26.2 miles in about 20 minutes.”

The ride was tough. He knew his wife and kids were at the finish line.

“I couldn’t get a hold of my wife,” he said. “I didn’t know what had happened and I was worried for my family like a lot of people.”

McGillivray spent the next four hours reuniting runners with their families and trying to calm nerves as rumors ran wild.

“One big problem was people were talking about suspicious packages here and here and here. That went on for a while. But I can really say that I didn’t get a sense of people panicking, like you might expect. I honestly believe the experience of our team and volunteers is one of the biggest assets of the BAA.”

McGillivray’s wife and two small children were in the grandstand when the first bomb exploded about 50 yards away.

“They were right across the street from the first bomb,” said McGillivray. “Katie said she thought it was a burst of some sort. Then when the second one went off, everybody knew it was something very different.”

With their husband and dad 26.2 miles away in Hopkinton, the McGillivrays bolted onto Exeter Street, the first street near the finish line, and found a quiet spot to sit on the curb.

McGillivray finally contacted his wife, who with her kids got a ride all the way back to North Andover with a friend of a friend.

“Katie’s car was in a garage on Clarendon Street but she couldn’t get it out of there,” said McGillivray. “She just wanted to get the kids home and safe. She ended up coming back to Boston to get the car the next day.”

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