It was a privilege to meet several members of Team Hoyt in the Concierge Lounge yesterday at the Copley Place Marriott. This is the last Boston Marathon for the father and son racing team, a team comprised of many dedicated people.
This is their story, as told by Josh Misner, Ph.D.
"Dick and Judy Hoyt had a son, Rick. Rick born in 1962 was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.Doctors advised them that their son would be non-functioning. The medical personnel said he should be placed in an institution. Dick refused.
"Instead, he brought Rick home with the intention of giving him a full and rich life. Swimming, sledding, street hockey and just about any other activity the Hoyt family could engage in, were all-inclusive family activities. Dick noticed that his son lit up whenever the two of them were active together. When Rick turned 12, thanks to a custom speech device, he began communicating with his father, finally able to tell his father what he suspected all along. Rick loved being with his dad.
"In 1977, Rick heard about a five-mile road race to benefit a recently paralyzed lacrosse player. He told his father he wanted to participate. It was not the race, nor was it the running he would never be able to do that inspired this desire. It was Rick's compassionate nature and desire to help others that motivated him.
"One problem: Dick was not a runner.
"Great fathers, however, make sacrifices. Great fathers give up their time, money and physical energy for the sake of giving their children a better life, or sometimes, merely a smile. Dick may not have been a runner, but as a great father, his son's request was all the motivation he needed. He agreed and pushed his son's wheelchair the full five miles.
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.
"In 2013, after decades of competition, the sport had physically taken its toll on "Team Hoyt." Dick, 73, and Rick, 52, decided to make the 2013 Boston Marathon, long the pair's favorite race, their swan song. However, the terrorist bombing at the finish line cut that race short for far too many, including Team Hoyt. After being stopped at the 23-mile mark, the dynamic duo could not finish.
"Team Hoyt has instead opted for the 2014 Boston Marathon to be their grand finale, and in a fitting finish to a story that has inspired millions, it is ending the same way it began."
We will all cheer on Team Hoyt in two days. They show how a father can dedicate his life to a son, and how a son can speak eloquently with no real voice. This team, staying here at this hotel, inspires us all.