Inspirational Athletes – Team Hoyt

Team Hoyt

To me, there are fewer things more inspirational than the father/son duo of Dick and Rick Hoyt.

In 1962, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Dick and Judy were advised to institutionalize Rick because there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a “normal” life. His parents refused to listen and fought for him to be accepted into public school. In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

That race began their 38 year journey of running races together, father pushing son. The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race. 2013 was going to be Dick and Rick’s last Boston Marathon together, but they were not able to finish due to the bombings. They vowed to be back in 2014 to finish “Boston Strong” with all the other runners, which they did. In 2015, with Dick having retired from marathons at the age of 74, someone else pushed Rick Hoyt across the finish line for the first time in Boston Marathon history. Bryan Lyons, who has been a member of Team Hoyt since 2009, pushed Rick in the race.

Dick and Rick are not completely done as a duo yet – they continue to do shorter distances races and triathlons together.

Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, “The thing I’d most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once.”

This story is proof that YOU can accomplish your fitness goals. Regardless of what obstacles are in your way, you can do this. All you have to do is take that first step.