Dave McGillivray, race director of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and president of DMSE Sports, recently wrote an illustrated children’s book called Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination that chronicles his first two attempts at running the Boston Marathon. It is also a story of rejection and determination and gives much-needed advice to children to believe in themselves and to never underestimate their own ability. At the conclusion of the book, McGillivray challenges all the readers to participate in their own marathon by running a total of 26 miles, reading 26 books, and doing 26 acts of kindness.

“I didn’t want kids just to read the book, put it down, and then move on to something else,” said McGillivray. “I really wanted to include a call-to action that would inspire kids to act on the messages in the book. As this was an important goal from the beginning, my co-author, Nancy Feehrer, and I created the Dream Big Marathon. The Dream Big Marathon is modeled after the Read, Right, and Run Marathon created in 2011 by Nancy Lieberman from the GO! St. Louis Marathon.”

Dream Big Marathon Challenges Children
Dream Big Marathon Challenges Children To Run, Read, and Perform 26 Acts Of Kindness

The Dream Big Marathon is a perfect activity for kids who are currently at home but want to still do activities outside and keep busy after their homeschooling is completed. The program addresses three important pillars of life: health and fitness; education; and giving back to family, friends, or the local community. The program is designed to be completed in 26 weeks but can be done over any period of time.

“The Dream Big Marathon was a game-changer for Bluebonnet Elementary (Fort Worth, TX),” said Diana Colby, the school’s librarian. “I loved working in collaboration with the PE teacher and the school counselor to create a school-wide program. We were even able to have a Boston Marathoner join us to help keep the excitement going all year and during our end of the year celebration with the local news station.”

“I encourage parents and teachers to share this program with students, colleagues, family, and friends,” said McGillivray. “The more kids know about this amazing program, the more they will be motivated to do something unique, productive, and special during this unprecedented time in our lives.”

As a child, McGillivray wanted more than anything to be a professional athlete. However, he was short in stature and was always the last one picked for teams. He wrote Dream Big to inspire kids to believe in themselves and be proud of their accomplishments. Once kids complete the Dream Big Marathon, they can mail in the form to receive the prestigious Dream Big Marathon medal. Parents can also purchase a copy of the book, Dream Big, on Amazon. Proceeds from the book benefit the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.