For more than 30 years, Dick Hoyt and his disabled son Rick, who has cerebral palsy (CP), have been more than a highlight at the Boston Marathon—they’ve been an inspiration. Rick’s CP requires a wheelchair and every year, Dick has pushed his son through the Boston Marathon, triathlons, and other tests of endurance.
We wrote an article about this father-son team before. Their feats have made them local and international celebrities, and their strength and bravery has energized countless people, both able-bodied and with disabilities, to work just a little harder in their everyday lives. We’re sharing their story again for a special reason.
Of this year’s Boston Marathon, Dick says, “It’s going to be unbelievable; this is going to be our 32nd Boston Marathon. Last year we did not go across the finish line; we were stopped at the 25-mile marker. But we will be out there. We will get across it this year. It’s going to be very emotional.”
The race, scheduled for April 21, will be emotional for more reasons than simply crossing the finish line after not making the goal last year, as memories of the last Boston Marathon will be on everyone’s mind. This year’s race is being run to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and it will be Dick and Rick’s last race together. Dick has decided to retire after all these years.
Last year’s race in 2013 was supposed to be their last, but Dick couldn’t bring himself to quit after missing the finish line. The race was stopped at the 25-mile marker after the bombs exploded. During a visit to the Today show in April 2013, Dick said, “We’re definitely going to run next year, and we’re going to be stronger next year, and I know the marathon is going to be stronger next year.”
As to the reason for his retirement, 73-year-old Dick says that nagging back pain has forced it upon him. He simply can’t make the 30-mile run annually anymore. He is not, however, retiring from running altogether and plans to continue to push Rick in other races with shorter routes and closer goals.
For his part, Rick has no intention of retiring from anything. He will continue to participate in the Boston Marathon for years to come, just with someone else doing the pushing. He and his father have a whole team with whom they run: Team Hoyt. Someone from that team will certainly be willing to jump in to fill Dick’s running shoes, and Rick will continue to be an inspiration to people all over the world.
Here’s the compelling story of Dick, Rick, and Team Hoyt. We have no doubt they’ll make it to the finish line this year! Have fun, guys!