Father Dick Hoyt has pushed his quadriplegic son Rick in a wheelchair over thousands of miles during their 30 years of racing in marathons, Ironmans and other events together across the U.S.
Known as “Team Hoyt, ” they have become a legendary fixture at the Boston Marathon. Last year was supposed to be their last time running Boston – until the bombs went off. Dick, now in his 70s, had noticed the toll that decades of racing has taken on his body. But last year, just as he and his son were about to finish, they were stopped by a police barricade. So Team Hoyt decided to run again this year — one last Boston Marathon, in honor of the people killed and injured in last year’s attack.
Team Hoyt first began racing when Rick came home from school at age 15 and told his dad about a five-mile charity race for a student who had been injured in an accident. He had said, “Dad, I have to do something for him. I want to let him know life goes on even though he’s paralyzed. I want to run in the race, ” WBUR reported.
Dick was not in shape for it, but he agreed to run it and push his son in a wheelchair. During the race, Rick discovered that being on a race course gave him the feeling that he was just as capable as others. He wrote to his father, “Dad, when I’m running it feels like my disability disappears.” Their racing career was born — and Rick even wrote “free bird” on his wheelchair.
The Hoyts say their racing days won’t be entirely over after Boston this year. They plan to do shorter runs together. And some Team Hoyt supporters even want to help Rick continue competing in Boston by taking over the role his dad has played. “I think it will be awesome, ” Dick told WBUR when asked how he felt.
We think so, too.
To read the full story, visit: wbur.org
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