His son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, and doctors advised him to place his son in an institution, informing him and his wife that his son would be nothing more than a "vegetable" and that it would be difficult raising him in that state.
In 1977, after reading an article in a magazine, Rick got inspired with the idea of running a race although he knew he could never run. He told his father, and even though his father was not a runner himself, he decided to enter a race, pushing his son in a wheel chair. After that first race, Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” That's all Dick needed to hear. He decided to start training himself so he would be strong enough to take his son to other racing events, even triathlons, pulling Rick in a special boat as they swam, carrying him in a special seat in the front of a bicycle, and pushing him in his special wheelchair as they ran.
As of April 2013, father and son had competed in 1,077 endurance events, including 70 marathons and six Ironman triathlons. They had run the Boston Marathon 30 times. Dick and Rick also biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days. Team Hoyt was inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008.
This year, Rick turns 51 and, his father, Dick is 73. They had decided this would be the final year they would run the Boston Marathon. Near the starting line, they were honored with a life-sized bronze statue in commemoration of their 31st Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, they were not able to finish because of the two bombs which exploded near the finish line.
Although they were not hurt, the Hoyts decided to change their minds about this being their final Boston Marathon. Next year, they will return again, Dick at age 74, pushing his son in his wheel chair, honoring this year's victims and survivors, providing encouragement and hope to many, and showing the love a father has for his son, a father who never gave up on his son, a father who carried and pushed his son through some of the most grueling events to prove to the world that no matter what society thinks, no matter what disabilities you may have, no matter what obstacles you may face, you CAN achieve your dreams.
--Contributed by Jon S. Randal--