Saturday, August 31, 2019

Book Launch Party: "Running Across America"

What happens when a teacher, a 65 year old runner/philanthropist who has done epic stuff and a "Kindness" Foundation come together with a community of like hearted people? You have an event that kicks off what is sure to create ripples of change and kindness for generations to come.

On August 26th, almost 41 years to the day when Dave McGillivray finished his run across America at Fenway Park to benefit the Jimmy Fund, over 250 people gathered at the State Street Pavillion at Fenway Park to celebrate the release of his latest book, "Running Across America."

Last year, writer and teacher Nancy Wendland Feehrer, and Dave launched the book, "Dream Big".

They are planning a series of children's books based on Dave's epic adventures to teach children the importance of setting goals not limits, perseverance and despite the challenges you face, there are always ways to dream big and reach your goals.

Dave didn't want children to just read the book and say, "Oh that's nice" and put it down. He created a call to action, "The Dream Big Marathon" to read 26 books, run 26 miles and practice 26 acts of kindness.

Dave was inspired by The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation and Nancy, Dave and The Foundation have developed a partnership to bring "Dream Big" and now "Running Across America" to schools across America.

Dave's wife Katie was the Room Parent for Foundation co-founder Kate Middlemiss' kindergarten class. Katie shared with Dave how much Scott was suffering after the loss of their son Joseph and Dave gave him a bib for the Boston Marathon knowing the therapeutic power of running. And they were off and running supporting the Mission and Goals of the Foundation with powerful friendships forged especially between heart warriors Jack and Dave.

On our walk from our parking space to the event, we took photos of iconic Fenway Park:

When we arrived, we took in the scene of The State Street Pavilion:

Diana Colby's husband Chris Colby came all the way from Texas to represent Bluebonnet Elementary School at the event.

We instantly spotted each other across the room from our Facebook photos! Becca Pizzi came over and it was like old home week for Becca and Chris. This is one of the million things I LOVE about the running community.

After greetings, hugs and photos with Nancy and her family

I was stopped in my tracks to see my books and the 65th birthday poem I wrote to Dave on a table along with several other authors' books:

"Um Nancy...this is your book launch. What did you do?"

"Well," she said with so much love in her voice, "I saw the names on our guest list and knew that they had written books so I decided to put out a display of the authors in attendance. Those are my copies of the books."

We hugged and went on our way to see the stunning view of the field and the Fenway Park 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon in progress. Several attendees in the crowd were proudly wearing their bling from the races they had just run.

One of my friends said, "Hey I found you. You're in the program. Do you sign this?" He was referring to the Scavenger Hunt for Authors:

There were hors d'oeuvres being passed around and a make your own Fenway Hot Dog and Fenway Sausage buffet along with a dessert table.

"How do you know Team Big Heart?" I asked someone standing next to the Authors' Table wearing a Team Big Heart shirt.

"Scott was kind enough to give this to me. I run the Boston Marathon with Dave every year in the evening."

We remembered the thrill of Dave running Boston just 6 months after open heart surgery and raising over $200,000 for The Foundation. I shared with Brent Richardson how Tom and I cheered Dave on at Cleveland Circle.

"Well then you saw me," he said.

He introduced us to his wife and son. We discovered that we had a lot in common. Brent had an epic comeback after having suffered Guillain Barre Syndrome. It's a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. He writes poetry for every occasion and his wife creates greeting cards. I am so glad he was wearing his Team Big Heart shirt and that we were able to connect.

We met Kelly Allen McLay at Cleveland Circle on Marathon Monday. She was part of Dave's entourage during this year's evening Boston Marathon run. We became Facebook friends and met again at Becca Pizzi's 5K. Kelly ran 7 Marathons in 7 Days on 7 Continents and has an inspirational story of her own finding her way to running after being diagnosed with early menopause at the age of 21. She was recently featured in Womens Health Magazine and she told us that they used the photo Tom had taken of her running with her daughter:

We laughed about Tom receiving royalties for the photo. Kelly's inspirational story is included in Tales from the Trails: Runners’ Stories that Inspire and Transform. The book will be launched on September 20th.

More inspiration came into the room as Kate and Scott, founders of The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, Jack and Grace arrived. We were able to get this photo before Jack and Gracie took off:

{Scott was wearing a LaCoste Strong t-shirt to support his Principal and dear friend, Kevin LaCoste who suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury this summer. You can make a donation to his GoFundMe page if you are so inspired.}

After schmoozing and eating, it was time for Dave, Nancy and Scott to express their gratitude for the amazing turnout of friends to support the launch and to talk about "Running Across America", "Dream Big" and the Dream Big Marathon.

The crowd listened with rapt attention including Boston Marathon Champion Jack Fultz:

Unbeknownst to me, Brian Baker, who has run 41 consecutive Falmouth Road Races and who we recently met in Falmouth and his wife Carolyn, were standing next to us but we never connected at the event. Brian shared these photos on Facebook:

When we arrived home, we read "Running Across America"

I may have cried and felt goosebumps all over especially as Dave and Nancy wrote about Dave's grueling challenges and lessons learned at different locales and -- spoiler alert -- when he rounds the bases at Fenway.

"Running Across America" is available on Amazon:
A full-color, inspiring picture book about Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray’s 3,452-mile run across America in 80 days!

As a teenager, Dave McGillivray heard a news story about a person biking across the United States. “What a great idea!” he thought. “But instead of a bike, I’ll use my sneakers!”

This is the funny, touching, true story of McGillivray’s 80-day, 3,452-mile run from Medford, Oregon, to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts. In Running Across America: A True Story of Dreams, Determination, and Heading for Home, McGillivray tells the tale of how he braved the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, millions of grasshoppers in Nebraska, days of pouring rain in Ohio, the occasional rattlesnake, and intensely sore knees. On top of it all, homesickness and doubt are constant companions as he tries to achieve his dream of running from coast-to-coast.

And that’s not his only dream―the cross-country run is part of his goal to help kids in need. By making the run a fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund, McGillivray joins his favorite baseball team, the Red Sox, in making lives better for children battling cancer. Through 13 states, blistering heat, and being “pulled over” by a State Trooper, McGillivray relies on good friends, family, a sense of humor, and sheer determination to fulfill a dream―and to help kids who can’t run.

• A true story with lots of humor and heart, this picture book is a follow-up to Dave McGillivray’s book about the first time he ran the Boston Marathon, Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination.

• Running Across America serves as the basis for McGillivray’s Dream Big "Marathon," a challenge explained at the end of the book for kids to run 26 miles, read 26 books, and do 26 acts of kindness in 26 weeks, sponsored by the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

I can't wait for their next book which will be about Dave's epic achievement of running 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days!

Dave is going to be speaking at Whiraway Sports Center in Methuen on September 11th. Follow this link to register.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.

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