Resilient Father/Son Run Marathons-Despite GREAT Odds

The first time my twin brother John, a professor at Boston College, saw Dick Hoyt and his son Rick in the Boston Marathon many years ago, he burst into tears.   As John now relates, “What a parable of faithfulness and devotion and freedom. Both of them.  They began competing in marathons when Rick was 15 years  old.  He is now 51.” I share the following notice because of the power of the story. And, who knows, perhaps some of my readers will be in Boston this Monday, Feb 18 and want to come out to the Boston College campus. Team Hoyt is an inspirational story of a father, Dick Hoyt, and his son, Rick, who compete together in marathons and triathlons across the country. Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt. As a result of oxygen deprivation to Rick's brain at the time of his birth, 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. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy's quest for Rick's inclusion in community, sports, education and one day, the workplace. 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." This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days. The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt's 1000th race. In 1975, at the age of 13, Rick was finally admitted into public school. After high school, Rick attended Boston University, and he graduated with a degree in Special Education in 1993. Dick retired in 1995 as a Lt. Colonel from the Air National Guard, after serving his country for 37 years.

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