Team Hoyt

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Team Hoyt
Years active1977–2014
Known forAthletic events including the Boston Marathon
Dick Hoyt
Full nameRichard Eugene Hoyt Sr.
Born(1940-06-01)June 1, 1940
Winchester, Massachusetts, U.S.[1]
DiedMarch 17, 2021(2021-03-17) (aged 80)
Holland, Massachusetts, U.S.
Rick Hoyt
Full nameRichard Eugene Hoyt Jr.
Born(1962-01-10)January 10, 1962
Holland, Massachusetts, U.S.[2]
DiedMay 22, 2023(2023-05-22) (aged 61)
Leicester, Massachusetts, U.S.

Team Hoyt was the athletic duo consisting of Dick Hoyt (June 1, 1940 – March 17, 2021) and his son Rick Hoyt (January 10, 1962 – May 22, 2023[3] ) from Holland, Massachusetts. The Hoyts competed together in marathons—including over 30 editions of the Boston Marathon—and Ironman Triathlons. Rick had cerebral palsy. During competition, Dick pulled Rick in a boat during swims, carried him in a seat in the front of a bicycle, and pushed him in a wheelchair as they ran. Team Hoyt were inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame and were recipients of ESPN's Jimmy V Award.

Rick Hoyt's birth and early life[edit]

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.[4] As a result, his brain could not properly control his muscles.[5] Many doctors encouraged the Hoyts to institutionalize Rick, informing them that he would be nothing more than a "vegetable."[5] 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.[5] 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. Rick's mother Judy spent hours each day teaching Rick the alphabet with sandpaper letters and posting signs on every object in the house. In a short amount of time, Rick learned the alphabet.[4]

At the age of 11, after some persistence from his parents, Rick was fitted with a computer that enabled him to communicate, and it became clear that Rick was intelligent.[6] With this communication device, Rick was also able to attend public schools for the first time.[7]

Rick went on to graduate from Boston University in 1993 with a degree in special education. He later worked at Boston College in Prof. James Gips's EagleEyes Project computer lab helping to develop systems to aid in communication and other tasks for people with disabilities. Rick's unique approach to identifying words with verbal prompts was used as a basis for the Boston College EagleEyes project's communication software.[8]

Team history[edit]

Team Hoyt in the 2008 Boston Marathon, near the halfway point
From left: Dick Hoyt, John Kerry, Bryan Lyons, and Rick Hoyt prior to the 2016 Boston Marathon

Team Hoyt began in 1977 when Rick asked his father if they could run in a race together to benefit a lacrosse player at his school who had become paralyzed. He wanted to prove that life went on no matter your disability.[9] 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." After their initial five mile run, Dick began running every day with a bag of cement in the wheelchair because Rick was at school and studying, unable to train with him.[4] Dick was able to improve his fitness so much that even with pushing his son, he was able to obtain a personal record of a 5K run in 17 minutes.[10]

Through March 2016, the Hoyts had competed in 1,130 endurance events, including 72 marathons and six Ironman Triathlons.[11] They ran the Boston Marathon 32 times, between 1980 and 2014.[12] 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.[11][13] 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.[5][14] For the run portion, Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair.[7]

In the 2013 Boston Marathon, 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. A bystander with an SUV gave them a ride to the Sheraton hotel, and they were temporarily separated from Rick's wheelchair.[15]

On April 21, 2014, the Hoyts completed the 2014 Boston Marathon, having previously announced that it would be their last together.[16] From 2015 through 2019, Rick was pushed in the Boston Marathon by Bryan Lyons, a dentist from Billerica, Massachusetts; Lyons died in June 2020, aged 50.[17]

Dick Hoyt died in his sleep at his home in Holland, Massachusetts, on March 17, 2021, after experiencing some health problems. He was 80.[18][19] Rick died from respiratory complications in Leicester, Massachusetts, on May 22, 2023.[20] He was 61.[21]


Statue of the Hoyts located near the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Massachusetts

Team Hoyt was inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008.[22][23]

On April 8, 2013, a bronze statue in honor of the Hoyts was dedicated near the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.[24]

ESPN honored Team Hoyt with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY Award show on July 17, 2013.[25]

Team Hoyt was also featured on inspirational billboards within the U.S.[26][27]

Racing history[edit]

Distance Quantity
Triathlons 257
Ironman distances 6 (included in triathlons)
Half Ironman 7 (included in triathlons)
Duathlons 22
Marathons (Boston Marathons) 72 (32)
20 miles 8
18.6 miles 8
Half Marathons 97
20 km 1
10 miles 37
15 km 8
Falmouth 7 miles 37
11 km 2
10 km 219
5 miles 162
8 km 4
7.1 km 1
4 miles 18
5 km 176

Total events (as of March 22, 2016): 1,130[11]


  1. ^ Mather, Victor (March 18, 2021). "Dick Hoyt, Who Ran Marathons While Pushing His Son, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  2. ^ "Dick Hoyt, Race by Race, A Father Lifts His Son"
  3. ^ Andersen, Travis (2023). "Boston Marathon Legand Rick Hoyt Dies at 61". Boston Globe. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b c Nall, Sam (January 2002). It's Only a Mountain: Dick and Rick Hoyt, Men of Iron. Southern Heritage Press. ISBN 0-941072-51-7.
  5. ^ a b c d Hayes, Liz (May 27, 2007). "Team Hoyt". Sixty Minutes Australia. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  6. ^ Reilly, Rick (June 20, 2005). "Strongest Dad in the World". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Henderson, Joe (February 10, 2008). "Odds Overcome". Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  8. ^ "The Power of a Father's Unconditional Love: Rick and Dick Hoyt". Self Improvement Association. November 8, 2009. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  9. ^ Brant, John (April 9, 2007). "Team Hoyt Starts Again". Runner's World. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  10. ^ Lodge, Denise (January 25, 2012). "Dick and Rick Hoyt: Still Running Together". Impowerage Magazine. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "Racing History". Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  12. ^ Anderson, Travis (May 22, 2023). "Boston Marathon legend Rick Hoyt dies at 61". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  13. ^ "Hoyts Forced to Miss Marathon". Boston Globe. March 29, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  14. ^ Smith, Gary, "The Wheels of Life", Sports Illustrated, April 18, 2011, pp. 56-68.
  15. ^ "Team Hoyt – Rick and Dick Hoyt – stopped 1 mile short of Boston Marathon finish line; inundated with support from public". Mass Live. April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  16. ^ "Team Hoyt -- father and son Dick and Rick Hoyt -- finish final Boston Marathon". AP. April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  17. ^ Ciccotelli, Jenna (June 2, 2020). "Bryan Lyons, who pushed Rick Hoyt in the Boston Marathon since 2015, dies at 50". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  18. ^ Prignano, Christina; Andersen, Travis; McInerney, Katie (March 17, 2021). "Dick Hoyt, longtime Boston Marathon runner who pushed son Rick for decades, dies at 80". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  19. ^ Butler, Sarah Lorge (March 17, 2021). "Dick Hoyt, Part of Legendary Boston Marathon Duo, Dies at 80". Runner's World. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  20. ^ Minsberg, Tanya (May 22, 2023). "Rick Hoyt, Who Competed in Races While Pushed by His Father, Dies at 61". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  21. ^ ""One of the most inspirational heroes": Rick Hoyt, Boston Marathon icon, dies at 61". May 22, 2023. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  22. ^ Breitrose, Charlie (July 17, 2010). "Triathlon duo visits Camp Arrowhead in Natick". MetroWest Daily News. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  23. ^ "Hall of Fame". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "Dad, son honored with statue at Marathon start". Boston Herald. AP. April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  25. ^ "ESPYS to honor the Hoyts". June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  26. ^ "See the Father and Son Team who've Run 65 Marathons Billboard". Retrieved June 3, 2020. Dad's been behind him for 65 marathons.
  27. ^ Haller, Laurie (April 19, 2010). "Team Hoyt-Pass it on". Retrieved June 3, 2020.

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