So, Dick Hoyt passed away on Friday at age 80. Reading about it in my news feed made me strangely emotional. Like, I was full on crying at my desk at work emotional.
If you don’t know who Dick Hoyt is, he’s the guy who pushed his very challenged adult son (cerebral palsy) in a wheelchair in the Boston Marathon. MarathonS plural, as they ran 32 of them together. There’s even a bronze statue of them at the marathon’s start.
You should google him if you don’t know the story. It’s amazing and deeply touching. There’s even a book.
Evidently, Rick- the son- asked if they could run in a charity 5k benefit many many years ago to benefit a lacrosse kid who became paralyzed. After they finished Rick said “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
So it grew from there. And it wasn’t just the Boston marathons. It was other marathons as well. And It was triathlons too. Including the goddamn Ironman.
Originally the Ironman wouldn’t let them compete together as it had to be “an individual effort” or some such. Dick said that’s not how they do things. Now Because of them, Ironman now has a physically challenged division.
Oh, to do the Ironman, Dick pulled his son in a boat, rode the bike with Rick in a seat on front, and pushed him in a specialized wheelchair. I mean….wow.
They were inducted into the Ironman hall of fame in 2008, btw.
Dick never gave up on his son and the family incorporated them into their life entirely. I mean, shit. They competed 70+ marathons! The first race in an ordinary, janky, boxy wheelchair.
They’re last race was to the the Boston marathon in 2013. They were a mile from finishing when the bombs went off. So Dick and son came back in 2014 and ran once more to cap their tremendous career.
That kind of love, it shines so bright and touches so many. I’m astounded by it. In awe of it. And a little jealous of it, if I’m being honest.
The sheer magnitude of what they accomplished- one cannot help but be inspired! And now Dick is gone. I can’t imagine the hole this has punched in the Hoyt family’s lives. Hell, I’m feeling the loss and all I ever experienced was them on tv.
I hope the family can find peace and I wish them all the best in moving forward.
This was a sweet eulogy. I had never heard about the Hoyts.