BAA Changing Leadership: Tom Grilk to become Executive Director; Guy Morse will become organization’s first Senior Director of External Affairs.

By: Boston Athletic Association
December 10, 2010

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today that Guy L. Morse, III will become the Senior Director of External Affairs. He has served as the organization's Executive Director (since 2000) and Boston Marathon Race Director (1985-2000).

Thomas S. Grilk has been named by the B.A.A.'s Board of Governors to succeed Morse as Executive Director.  Grilk has been President of the B.A.A. Board of Governors since 2003 and will resign that position to accept his new position at the B.A.A.

The expansion in leadership enables the B.A.A. to retain Morse’s experience and relationships while transferring the responsibility of the Association’s daily management to Grilk.

The new titles and positions for Morse and Grilk will be effective January 1, 2011.  The B.A.A. will select a new president this month to succeed Grilk.

"This represents the perfect time for me to transition into a new role for the B.A.A.," said Morse. "After having rebounded from health-related issues a couple of years ago, I realize my enthusiasm and belief in the B.A.A.'s mission is as strong as ever. I'm looking forward to creating even stronger community, industry and institutional relationships for the Association where they are needed for the purpose of furthering the B.A.A.'s positive impact and expanded reach. Serving the B.A.A. and its event participants during the last 27 years has been an honor and a privilege, and I look forward to continuing in my new capacity."

Morse was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and suffered complications as part of the treatment, but he has recovered to lead a full and active lifestyle.

Among Morse's accomplishments for the B.A.A. are:

  • obtaining major, long-term, unprecedented corporate sponsorship agreements, including from John Hancock Financial Services and adidas;
  • providing the B.A.A. and Boston Marathon financial security and positioning both the Association and event for growth;
  • the institution of prize money for the Boston Marathon;
  • directing the historic Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996, which was a milestone in the sporting world and included the world's largest field to date;
  • developing the B.A.A.'s year-round schedule of events and programming, such as the B.A.A. Half Marathon, youth initiatives, and clinics;
  • bringing Boston into the formation of the World Marathon Majors, along with London, Berlin, Chicago and New York;
  • playing host to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon in 2008;
  • leading the B.A.A.'s charitable efforts, including having exceeded $100 million in total funds raised through 2010 through the B.A.A.'s Official Charity Program at the Boston Marathon.

In 1985, Morse's first full year with the B.A.A., the organization had a deficit of $300,000 and the marathon had 5595 entrants. By comparison, Morse's current B.A.A. has an operating budget of approximately $9 million for 2011, the 2010 Boston Marathon included 26,790 entrants, the 2010 B.A.A. Half Marathon reached its field size limit in two hours, the 2011 Boston Marathon filled its qualifying field in eight hours, the B.A.A. brand has never been stronger, and the Boston Marathon has never been more popular or experienced greater demand than it has in recent years.

The B.A.A. was established in 1887, and the inaugural B.A.A. Road Race (later to be called the Boston Marathon) was held on April 19, 1897 and had 15 entrants.

Morse, 59, who was recently appointed to the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) Board of Directors, becomes the B.A.A.'s first Senior Director of External Affairs. The new position reflects the Association's commitment to its international, national and local constituencies, including the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course and the cooperative departments and agencies from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which assist in the organization of the B.A.A.'s main event. Morse will preserve, renew and grow important long term relationships, both institutionally and strategically, talents which have characterized his term as Race Director and Executive Director.

In 2010, Boston Marathon weekend generated more than $122 million for the local economy, according to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Boston Marathon is the area's largest mass participatory sporting event and is unrivaled in terms of its uniqueness and prestige.

Grilk, 63, has been a member of the B.A.A. since 1987, and he has served as B.A.A. President since 2003.  Grilk has been a longtime corporate attorney.

"The B.A.A. is a vibrant, engaged and committed organization which is active in the community and strives to make lives healthier and better through running, charitable and philanthropic endeavors," said Grilk. "We take very seriously our responsibility to uphold the Boston Marathon as a source of local pride, while also remembering that we are involved with a recreational activity which should be fun and entertaining for participants and spectators alike. I look forward to the B.A.A.'s growth and to creating additional opportunities open to anyone who might wish to participate in a B.A.A. road race, event or program."

In assuming the leadership position for the B.A.A., Grilk will be responsible for everything from daily operations to the implementation of strategic plans.  He has a deep institutional knowledge of both the B.A.A. and Boston Marathon, having served in many volunteer capacities and committees during the last three decades. Besides providing his legal expertise pro bono to the B.A.A. on matters ranging from contracts to trademark, he serves frequently as master of ceremonies for many B.A.A. events and is recognizable as the "Voice of the Boston Marathon," announcing from the finish line each Patriots' Day since 1979. 

Among Grilk's first actions when he becomes executive director in the new year will be collaborating to conclude the review -- together with Morse and the B.A.A.'s Boston Marathon Race Director, Dave McGillivray -- of the B.A.A.'s qualifying standards and entry procedure for the Boston Marathon. McGillivray remains in the position of Race Director, a title he has held since the 2001 Boston Marathon. McGillivray joined the B.A.A. as the Boston Marathon’s start coordinator following the 1987 Boston Marathon.

During Grilk’s tenure as B.A.A. President, the organization has sought to foster the development of American athletes and placing an emphasis on youth athletics has been a hallmark of this period. Since 2003, nearly all top U.S. marathoners have run the Boston Marathon, have sometimes challenged for victory, and have added to the race’s appeal.

Also during this period, the B.A.A. 5K, which launched in 2009, has provided an opportunity for many local runners to participate in another event on marathon weekend while the B.A.A. Invitational and Scholastic Miles (also on race weekend) have placed the spotlight on selected runners from the race communities.

In addition during that time, the B.A.A. Board of Governors has championed two other significant US efforts in recent years – the B.A.A. playing host to the 2007 USA Women’s Marathon Championship and the 2008 US Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon.

All of these enterprises exemplify a common theme for the B.A.A. with Grilk as President: advancing the Association through the creation of innovative events while expanding and strengthening the B.A.A.’s name and brand with particular attention to American development.

The 115th Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon and one of the world's most prestigious road races, will be held on Monday, April 18, 2011

Guy L. Morse, III bio from B.A.A. web site:

Thomas S. Grilk bio from B.A.A. web site:


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