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Marathon director faces security, health tests

Dave McGillivray, his wife, Katie, and their children Luke and Elle, at the Marathon finish last year. This year McGillivray’s family won’t be attending the event with him.
Dave McGillivray, his wife, Katie, and their children Luke and Elle, at the Marathon finish last year. This year McGillivray’s family won’t be attending the event with him.Joanne Rathe/GLOBE STAFF

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Dave McGillivray has five kids of his own, ranging in age from 23-year-old Ryan to 4-year-old Chloe, enough to keep any father busy. But each spring, as longtime director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray’s horde grows to thousands.

He feels an almost paternal responsibility for each of his runners, never so much as this year’s field of 36,000 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 83. All the runners matter to him, from the first one to fly over the finish line to the last one who straggles in.

Two years ago, the Marathon nearly melted in 89-degree weather, with 200 runners taken to the hospital and hundreds more treated in the medical tent. But last year, with perfect running weather, McGillivray recalls having few worries. Then the bombs went off.

In ways large and small, it will be a different Marathon this year, and as April 21 approaches, McGillivray is a different man. The Boston Athletic Association race director, he has overseen 26 Boston Marathons, but never one quite like this. The logistics of putting on one of the world’s highest-profile races have been transformed, and no one is more aware of that than he is.

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