In the spring of 1977, Rick Hoyt told his father, Dick Hoyt, 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 disabled.”
This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons. 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 a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage).
Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, “The thing I’d most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once.”
TEMPE, Ariz. — USA Triathlon and the multi-sport community celebrated the achievements of four triathlon legends Friday night, as Cherie Gruenfeld, Richard Eugene “Dick” Hoyt and Richard Eugene “Rick” Hoyt, Jr., and Mike Plant (posthumous) were inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. The gala and ceremony, benefiting the USA Triathlon Foundation, were held in Tempe in conjunction with the inaugural Endurance Exchange conference hosted by USA Triathlon and Triathlon Business International this week.
USA Triathlon Hall of Fame member and longtime Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillvray introduced the Hoyts, telling the story of how he met the famous push-assist team at the Boston Marathon — the iconic race the duo would go on to run 37 times.
“I looked upon them with bewilderment. What is this? Someone is actually pushing another person in a wheelchair? I’d never seen that before. I waited for them at the finish line as I just had to find out who they were and what this was all about. That began a 40-year relationship and friendship between us,” McGillivray said. “I asked Dick if he wanted to do my Bay State Triathlon. He said, ‘Not without Rick.’ I thought, ‘how is he going to do this?’ As we all know, the rest is history. They did it and never looked back.”
“Team Hoyt” became the first duo ever to complete the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in 1989, and repeated the feat in 1999. Over three decades, they have paved the way for the countless push-assist teams around the world who participate in endurance sports today.
“This is what we did together, as a father and son. Rick is such a great kid. He’s just like you and me, he lives on his own. He’s just a great kid and now we’ve got all these Team Hoyt organizations in different states. That is something I’m very proud of,” said Dick Hoyt, who spoke on behalf of himself and his son, Rick.
Unable to attend, Rick Hoyt addressed the crowd in a recorded video message.
“Thanks for the honor. Wish I could be there. Dad, I love you,” he said.
Dick and Rick are forever grateful for the monetary donations that are made to help further the education of people living with disabilities to become active members of their communities. Since the inception of The Hoyt Foundation, Dick and Rick have been working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for those living with disabilities.
Your donation will go towards the many activities The Hoyt Foundation participates in to keep this education going.
You can choose between making a donation online through our certified PayPal account, or you may send a check to the mailing address below:
These are uncertain times and marathons are being temporarily put on hold. The artist Mike Tabor has created a smaller version of the life size “Yes You Can” statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt that was installed in Hopkinton, MA. He feels now more than ever the importance of this inspirational piece.
Mike Tabor Studio will be donating a portion of profits from the sales of “Yes You Can” to the Hoyt Foundation.
The piece measures 14 ½ in length x 6 in wide x 9 ½ in tall and is in bronze with a walnut base. The pre-orders will take around 9 weeks to fulfill.