Father-son duo has competed in more than 1,000 events, from 5Ks to Ironman triathlons.
The starting gun of the Boston Marathon might not be going off until next Monday morning, but Beantown festivities kicked off yesterday with the unveiling of a brass statue of inspirational father and son running duo Dick and Rick Hoyt at the starting line in Hopkinton.
Well known in the running community, Dick and Rick Hoyt have been running for charity since Rick, a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy since birth, asked his father 34 years ago if they could run a five-mile charity race for a local lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Never having been a runner in his life, Dick agreed to push his son in the race. Since then, they have participated in every Boston Marathon for the past 31 years and more than 1,000 other events from the 5K to the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon.
“When Rick asked me to run in that first race 34 years ago, we never even thought we’d be running marathons or doing triathlons or biking across the United States,” Dick said. “It’s just unbelievable and now to get a bronze statue of yourself, it’s just awesome. “We feel like we won the World Series, the World Cup or the Super Bowl.”
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The life-sized statue commissioned by John Hancock reveals the commitment, emotion and sacrifices the two have made for each other to the sport of running as well as the unyielding bond between the father and son. Through their running, the duo has created a charity, Team Hoyt, whose message is, “Yes, You Can.”
“There’s no such things as ‘can’t’ in the Hoyt vocabulary,” Dick said. “When Rick was born we were told he would be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of life. Now here he is; he has graduated from high school, he’s graduated from Boston University and lives in an apartment all by himself. Our message is ‘Yes You Can.’ You might have to do it a little bit different, but you can do it.”
And there is even more for Team Hoyt to accomplish. Dick, 73, and Rick, 51, have signed on with Timex Sports to spread their message across the globe.
“We’ve got a program out there with the Timex, ‘I am A Runner,’” Dick said. “We’re getting stories from people all over the world that have different types of disabilities and skills in running, and we hope to motivate and inspire people all over the world.”