Rick Hoyt, Boston Marathon Fixture, Dies At Age 61

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If you have had the opportunity to watch the Boston Marathon in the past several decades or you follow the most heartwarming stories from Boston Marathon race day every year, you are likely familiar with the dynamic duo father-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt.

The Hoyts were among the Boston Marathon’s most beloved athletes and an inspiration to runners across the world. 

For over four decades, from 1981 until 2014, father runner Dick Hoyt would push his son Rick Hoyt in his wheelchair for the entire 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon course from Hopkinton, Massachusetts to the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston, MA.

The father-and-son Hoyt racing team was such a fixture at the Boston Marathon every year, and the infectious smile of Rick Hoyt as they cruised the streets is something that every runner who saw the duo is sure to remember.

On Monday, May 23, 2023, the Hoyt Foundation announced that Rick Hoyt died at the age of 61, noting, “It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announce the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick Hoyt this morning.”

Rick Hoyt was a quadriplegic and had cerebral palsy that required him to use a wheelchair, yet he always wanted to run with his father when he was young.

His father Dick Hoyt began training and racing with Rick by pushing him in his wheelchair. 

Dick Hoyt died just a couple of years ago in 2021 at the age of 80, and Rick Hoyt retired from competition shortly thereafter.

The father-son team completed 32 Boston Marathons together and over 1,100 marathons and triathlons in total. 

Rick Hoyt’s family shared that Rick passed away due to respiratory system complications.

In the announcement, the Hoyt family shared the following:

“As so many knew, Rick along with our father, Dick, were icons in the road race and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things.”

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) released a statement on their Instagram account honoring Rick Hoyt’s legacy:

Rick Hoyt will always be remembered as a Boston Marathon icon and for personifying the ‘Yes You Can’ mentality that defined Team Hoyt. We are fortunate to have been able to call Rick a friend, mentor, pioneer, and Boston Marathon finisher. His legacy will live on through the Rick & Dick Hoyt Award, which is presented each April around the Boston Marathon to someone who exhibits the spirit of Team Hoyt through advocacy and inclusion.”

The running community will surely keep Rick Hoyt’s spirit alive and the Boston community can glean inspiration from the bronze statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt was dedicated near the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton.

Our thoughts are with the Hoyt family and we will all do our best to live up to the unstoppable attitude of the Hoyt team.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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