Thursday, April 9, 2009

11 Days to Boston Marathon: Rick and Dick

Team Hoyt, the father and son duo, Dick and Rick. However you might recognize this pair, you've mostly likely seen them on the course, watched them on TV footage either at Boston or the Ironman World Championships (yep, they've been there too, most recently in 2007), or read about them in Runner's World. Dick pushes his son along many a course, giving Rick the legs he never had.

You can read a more in-depth history on their website, but in short, 47-year-old Rick was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, cutting off oxygen to his brain, and developed cerebral palsy. While Rick's body lacks, his brain does not and he's been able to communicate through a computer, graduating from college and telling his family he loved sports. Dick wanted his son to live as normal a life as possible so when Rick said he wanted to do a 5K race, Dick pushed him, and this started their streak of nearly 1,000 races together. They first entered the Boston Marathon in 1981, and now at age 68, Dick will be running it again, pushing Rick to complete No. 27.

But one of the most awe-inspiring feats that really gains them notice--and jaw drops--is their competition in the Ironman. It's hard enough to complete that race alone, but Dick has to pull a raft holding Rick during the swim, pedal and specially-designed bike to seat Rick in front, and then push him through a marathon. Team Hoyt most recently completed the Ironman distance in 2004, and fell just short of the swim cut-off at Ironman Hawaii in 2006. Now they've switched over to the 70.3 series when it comes to triathlon--you may have caught them on NBC on April 12 during the airing of the 2008 Foster Grant World Championships 70.3. And they're still making it to the Boston start line when they're healthy and able--they missed 2007 due to some health ailments but have made all the other starts since 1981. Good part too is they're from the Boston area, so they don't have far to travel for the famed race. They're even being honored on some of the banners this year as pictured above. Photo grabbed from Paul Keleher (banner) and Just_a_friend (2006 running) at flickr. Posted by Kate

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