04 Sep Team Hoyt – An Inseparable Duo
Team Hoyt – Father and Son
At a young age, long before Team Hoyt was a household name, it was clear that Rick was attentive and highly intelligent. His eyes were active and curious, showing exceptional observation skills. Dick and Judy taught their son the alphabet and basic words, hoping to prove his learning abilities to public school administrators.
In 1972, the Hoyt’s were able to demonstrate Rick’s intellect, thanks to an interactive computer created by a group of engineers at Tufts University. The computer allowed Rick to construct sentences by highlighting every letter of the alphabet. Rick’s first words via the computer were, “Go Bruins!” Boston’s NHL team was competing in the Stanley Cup Finals that season and Rick had watched all year. Unbeknownst to his parents, Rick was becoming an avid sports fan – he just couldn’t communicate it yet.
As a result of this freeing experience, Rick was admitted to public school for the first time at the age of 13. In 1993 he graduated from Boston University with a degree in Special Education.
Although Dick was anything but a distance runner, he wanted to fulfill his son’s wish and push him the full 5-miles
“Team Hoyt” consists of Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son duo. Rick was diagnosed with cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain at birth. Both Dick and his wife Judy strove to ensure their son experienced inclusion in the community, education, sports, and the workplace. Dick and Rick compete in races together, with father pushing son along in his wheelchair. In total, they’ve competed in well over 1,000 events.
Team Hoyt made their first appearance in 1977. Rick expressed interest in a 5-mile benefit run for a local lacrosse player who had recently been paralyzed. Although Dick was anything but a distance runner, he wanted to fulfill his son’s wish and push him the full 5-miles. Team Hoyt was born when Rick stated, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
Since that year, Team Hoyt has participated in marathons, Ironman competitions, triathlons, duathlons, and short distance races. In 1992, the father-son team biked and ran across the United States in 45 days.
Rick always listed the Boston Marathon as his favorite competition, so it was fitting that the 2009 event was the 1000th race for Team Hoyt. Unfortunately, the Boston Marathon would later be the setting for of one of their most emotionally charged contests, as well.
2013 Boston Marathon
The 2013 Boston Marathon was to be the last event for Team Hoyt. They were a mile away from the finish when the bombs went off. Luckily both Dick and Rick came away unscathed but the bombings stopped them from finishing the race. The experience galvanized their competitive spirit and they decided to join in the 2014 Boston Marathon. Team Hoyt finished “Boston Strong” along with their fellow runners in purposeful fashion.
Neither Rick nor Dick was ready to retire, after that, but Dick’s advancing age presented a challenge. Brad Lyons was recruited as the solution and now replaces Dick in some of the team’s races.
Disabled Spectator is excited to follow their future events. To see a complete list of their upcoming races, visit their website at www.teamhoyt.com.