Runner’s World Classic 2016 scheduled to step off this weekend

The inaugural Runner's World Classic 2016 is scheduled for this weekend with about 2,500 athletes taking to the streets of Merrimack College and surrounding neighborhoods. It's got something for everyone, from the hardcore runners to small children out for some fun with their families.

The three-day event is being put on by famed race director and Merrimack College alum Dave McGillivray ’76 and his DMSESports, which also puts on the Boston Marathon. 

“When you create something from nothing the first thing that needs to be in place is a vision of what you want it to be and expect it to be and then you have to weigh that against realistic expectations,” McGillivray said. Those are based on resources available, and lead time, and just the concept itself, and the quality of the concept.”

The classic will include expos, seminars, clinics and music on campus throughout the weekend.

It opens with a festival featuring vendors and sponsors at 3 p.m. then children’s age-appropriate races start at 6 p.m.

The 5k race steps off Saturday at 7 a.m. followed by the 10k at 8:30 a.m.

The celebrity 1-mile race is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Local celebrities are scheduled to include Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans, Boston Marathon survivors Adrianne Haslet and Jeff Bauman, past Boston marathon winners, NASA astronaut and U.S. Naval officer Sunita Williams; and Boston news reporters and meteorologists, including Eric Fisher, Maria Stephanos and Steve Cooper.

Dick Hoyt, who has pushed his son Rick in a wheelchair in each Boston Marathon since 1980 will run but because Rick has a scheduling conflict, will be pushing a four-year-old disabled boy instead.

“It will be the first time he’s pushing somebody other than Rick in 35 years,” McGillivray said.

The half-marathon is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Sunday. 

Nineteen charities are entering teams into the weekend’s races. Half of the team runners’ entrance fees will be given to their charities. That lets the teams raise money for their charities while motivating the runners and raising awareness, McGillivray said.

Knowing that there are seemingly countless 5k, 10k and half-marathon races from which runner’s can choose, McGillivray designed the classic around the newest craze that allows athletes to compete in all three events.

“That’s the most popular of everything,” McGillivray said. “We have almost 300 people registered to do what we call the hat trick and that’s more than any individual race.”

Runners going for the hat trick need to develop a strategy. They can’t go out and try to record personal best times on a 5k and 10k if they know they’re running a half-marathon the next day, McGillivray said.

“So they must pay attention to the strategy,” he said.

The heat and humidity must also play into the strategy for all runners, no matter the race. Friday and Saturday are expected to be about 90 degree and Sunday about 88 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. The races are early though, so the effects of the heat should be limited, McGillivray said.

“Even though you are seeing heat in the 90s, it won’t be 90 at 7 a.m.,” he said.

McGillivray also organized the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro July 3 and is organizing the Run to Home Base at Fenway Park in Boston for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital July 23.

For more information about the classic, including registration and the full schedule of events, visit the website

“It’s good, it should be lot of fun for everyone,” McGillivray said.


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