BOSTON (CBS) – They are legends of the marathon, but this year will be the last Boston for Rick and Dick Hoyt. In fact, Dick Hoyt had planned to end his long marathon career after last year’s race, but the bombings changed all that. “We’re running this year in honor of all the people who got killed and injured last year,” says Dick.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown reports
This will be Boston Marathon number 32 for Team Hoyt. Last year they were forced to stop about a mile from the finish line. “And they said that’s it. The Boston Marathon is over,” Dick remembers. “My big concern was our families. We had 30-something people running for our foundation and all the families were in the bleachers and my kids were in there, too,” he adds. Everyone was shaken, but okay. “I just couldn’t believe that people would do something like that,” Dick says.
Even though Dick Hoyt at age 73 has severe back pain, he says he has one more Boston in him. “We won’t be as fast as we usually are, but we will be out there, and we will finish the Boston Marathon,” he says.
It all started for the Hoyts in 1981, their first Boston, Dick pushing Rick in a wheelchair on the grueling course. Dick has cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Since their first run we’ve been amazed and inspired. “When Rick was born they said forget him, put him away, put him in an institution, he’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life,” says Dick. But Dick said ‘no.’ He knew his son’s healthy mind was trapped in a body that didn’t work. It was Rick who suggested they run together. “Rick and I have competed in over 1100 athletic events all over the world, and I think the big thing is people are accepting people like Rick who are physically challenged,” says his Dad.
Rick can speak only by controlling a computer with subtle head movements. He knows what the team has accomplished. “I feel very proud because when we first wanted to run in the Boston Marathon they did not want us, and now there is a bronze statue (of us) in Hopkinton near the start line,” he says.
Even though this will be their last marathon together, Team Hoyt New England is carrying on the mission. Ted Painter and Nick Draper are two of the 55 competitors who will tackle Boston and keep alive the Hoyt motto of “yes you can.” “We want to show the greater community that if you’re disabled it doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines,” says Painter.
Rick Hoyt says he’s going to continue competing in the Boston Marathon, with a new partner. “The next phase for me is another runner from Team Hoyt pushing me. Unless Jack Williams would like to push me,” he says. Dick and Rick will run again together, just not in marathons. They’ll do half marathons and other shorter races and leave the longer runs to the growing ranks of Team Hoyt. In fact there are Team Hoyts in San Diego and Virginia Beach, with another to start soon in Japan, all dedicated to spreading the message that you can do anything you put your mind to.
WBZ-TV is your official Boston Marathon station. You can watch this year’s race on Monday, April 21st from start to finish.
For more information visit: www.teamhoyt.com
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