Dick Hoyt, the endurance sports icon lionized for pushing his wheelchair bound son Rick through thousands of marathons and triathlons nationwide, passed away this morning. He was 80.
The longtime participant in the Boston Marathon had been battling health issues in recent years. According to his family, he died in his sleep early Wednesday morning.
Dick began his running career with son Rick in 1977, when Rick expressed a desire to participate in a 5-mile road race that was a benefit for a paralyzed lacrosse athlete. According to the Team Hoyt website, following the event, Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not disabled."
This one event kicked off a decades long endurance sports habit. In 1981, Team Hoyt ran the Boston Marathon for the first time. They would total 32 runs of the Boston Marathon, with the final run in 2014, returning to complete a run cut short by the prior year's bombings.
In 1992, the Hoyts completed a 45 day, 3,735 mile bike and run across the continental United States. They also completed 6 Ironman triathlons together, including two Ironman World Championship finishes in 1989 and 1999 respectively.
The past year and a half has been difficult for Team Hoyt. Dick's replacement runner since retiring from competition, Bryan Lyons, died suddenly in June, 2020.
Photo Credit: Boston Athletic Association