The Boston Marathon community lost a legend and inspiration on Wednesday. Dick Hoyt, who ran 32 Boston Marathons and numerous other events with his son Rick, passed away at the age of 80, according to multiple reports.
‘Team Hoyt’ began in 1977 with Dick running while pushing Rick, who suffers from cerebral palsy, in a specially-designed wheelchair. Over 37 years they participated in over 1,100 events including marathons, and triathlons. They were inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008.
The duo from Holland, Massachusetts ran the Boston Marathon for the first time in 1980, and seeing them pass and cheering them on by became a yearly staple of the event for onlookers. Before the 2013 Marathon, which was set to be their final race, a statue was dedicated to them near the starting line in Hopkinton.
In the aftermath of the bombing at the finish line that year, the Hoyts became an example of what the Marathon means to Boston, and were awarded the Jim Valvano Award at the 2013 ESPYS. Unable to finish the race in 2013 due to the attack, they returned in 2014 for what was ultimately their final running.
Dick, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, stepped away from running in 2015. Following the news of his passing, the B.A.A., who organizes the Boston Marathon, released the following statement.
The B.A.A. is tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt. Dick personified what it meant to a be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion, and love every Patriots’ Day for more than three decades. He was not only a fan-favorite who inspired thousands, but also a loyal friend and father who took pride in spending quality time with his son Rick while running from Hopkinton to Boston.
As a leader of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt and his son Rick quickly became Boston Marathon legends after their first run in 1980. Pushing Rick in a custom racing chair, Dick and Rick completed 32 Boston Marathons together, including a final finish in 2014. The pair’s bond and presence throughout the course became synonymous with the Boston Marathon. Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race together came at the 2009 Boston Marathon, and in 2015 Dick served as Grand Marshal of the race in recognition of his impact on the event and Para Athlete community.
Dick Hoyt was one-of-a-kind. We will sincerely miss Dick, and are keeping his many family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.