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Posted: April 20, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel Documents McGillivray's Pandemic Pivot

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

(19-Apr) -- Thirteen months ago when the pandemic swept over America and turned life upside down for all of us, people who organize mass-participation sporting events were hit particularly hard. Professionals who spent years perfecting how to get large groups of people together were sidelined as Americans isolated themselves to protect against the virus.

PHOTO: Andrea Kremer interviews Dave McGillivray for a segment on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (photo courtesy of HBO)

Dave McGillivray, who has directed the Boston Marathon on behalf of the Boston Athletic Association since 1988, found himself quickly on the sidelines. All of the events he directed were cancelled, and his very successful business, DMSE Sports Inc., was getting crushed.

"I've always felt this industry was bulletproof, until this pandemic came along and proved me wrong," McGillivray told correspondent Andrea Kremer in a segment produced by HBO for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel which will air Tuesday night at 10:00 p.m. on HBO and HBO Max.

McGillivray, an extraordinarily active man who has performed feats of endurance like running across the country and cycling for 24 hours straight, may have been unable to direct any running events, but his skills in safely managing the flow of large numbers of people would have a new purpose: setting up and operating mass vaccination sites.

"We know how to move people," McGillivray said. "That's what we do."

McGillivray and his team went to work setting up the mass-vaccination site at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. They studied the entire chain of tasks required to deliver doses of vaccine to thousands of people each day, using a stopwatch and time and motion studies to refine the vaccination process. The result? Seven thousand people a day are able to get their shots, going through the process in just five minutes.

"The pace is relentless," McGillivray said.

Although he wasn't able to direct the Boston Marathon today, he'll get that chance again on October 11, when the postponed version of the race takes place from Hopkinton to Back Bay. Until then, McGillivray will continue to focus on fighting the pandemic, one shot at a time.

"It's somewhat surreal that instead of handing out bib numbers to 30,000 runners we're going to be helping to put shots in arms," McGillivray said.

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