The Hoyt's got Paul and I started in April of 2004 after Paul and I saw a video about Dick & Rick Hoyt. They presented us with the challenge that we'll never forget!
So, just like Paul Appleby, Rick Hoyt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth after his umbilical cord became twisted around his neck, which caused the blockage of oxygen flow. As a result, his brain could not properly control his muscles. Many doctors encouraged the Hoyts to institutionalize Rick, informing them that he would be nothing more than a "vegetable." His parents held on to the fact that Rick's eyes would follow them around the room, giving them hope that he would somehow be able to communicate someday. The Hoyts took Rick every week to Children's Hospital in Boston, where they met a doctor who encouraged the Hoyts to treat Rick like any other child.
Team Hoyt began in 1977, he wanted to prove that life went on no matter your disability. Dick Hoyt, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard, was not a runner and was 36 years old. After their first race Rick said, "Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped."
Through March 2016, the Hoyts had competed in 1,130 endurance events, including 72 marathons and six Ironman Triathlons. They had run the Boston Marathon 32 times. 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 (6,011 km) in 45 days. They also competed in triathlons. For the swim portion of a triathlon, Dick used a rope attached to his body to pull Rick sitting in a boat. For the cycle portion, Rick rode on the front of a specially designed tandem bike. For the run portion, Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair.
In the 2013 Boston Marathon, Paul and I were able to finish about 50 minutes prior to the bombing. Team Hoyt had about a mile to go when two bombs exploded near the finish line; they were stopped by officials, along with thousands of other runners still running the race. They were not injured.
On April 21, 2014, Dick and Rick Hoyt completed the 2014 Boston Marathon, having previously announced that it would be their last together. From 2015 through 2019, Rick Hoyt was pushed in the Boston Marathon by Bryan Lyons, a dentist from Billerica, Massachusetts; Lyons died in June 2020, aged 50.
Dick Hoyt died at his home and in his sleep in Holland, Massachusetts, on March 17, 2021, after experiencing some health problems. He was 80 years old. He was a true mentor to me, Paul and so many others.