Yes They Did! Dick and Rick Hoyt Complete their 30th Boston Marathon

Source: Associated Press

Source: Associated Press

Last Monday, the 116th Boston Marathon went down in history as one of the hottest Boston Marathons on record, with temperatures soaring into the upper 80s. The scorching sun slowed down nearly all the runners on the course. It forced some to the sidelines without finishing, and prompted others to opt out of this year’s race altogether.

This was not the case for 71-year-old Dick Hoyt and his 50-year-old son Rick, whom Dick pushed for 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston to complete their 30th Boston Marathon in 7 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds.

As Dick told me in a recent interview, “The word ‘can’t’ isn’t in the Hoyt vocabulary.”

At the Expo on Sunday at the World Trade Center in Boston, I listened to Dick and Rick speak to a packed audience. Their story is an amazing story of triumph, of a family that never gave up. The Hoyts did whatever they could so that their son, Rick, born with cerebral palsy, could live as normal of a life as possible. Because of their efforts and Rick’s can-do spirit, Rick finished high school and college, has competed in over a thousand racing events in the last 33 years with his dad, and has his own consulting business. (You can learn more about the Hoyt’s story here.)

Most of us in the room were running the marathon the next day, and we knew we were facing oppressive conditions. But that didn’t seem to matter after hearing the Hoyts. There was no doubt in their mind that they would complete this milestone marathon. It was never a question. Dick then told the audience that the Boston Marathon is Rick’s favorite race.

“Dad, if it ever comes down to doing just one race a year, I want it to be the Boston Marathon,” Rick has told his dad.

When I lined up at the start line in Hopkinton last Monday —along with 22,480 other runners — I knew the heat was going to be challenging. My plan was to follow the advice of the BAA: run slower than normal, take walking breaks, and drink fluids early and often.

It appears most runners heeded the same advice, because despite the debilitating heat, 96% of those who started the marathon completed it, according to the BAA. I was among them.

Dick had told me that he and Rick were hoping to finish the marathon in five hours. “It’s definitely going to be a tough race,” he said. In the end, it took them over two hours longer.

I didn’t see them on the course last Monday, but I knew wherever they were, they were receiving well-deserved encouragement from both the runners and the spectators. And I know that they inspired countless others by their sheer determination to finish.

Congratulations to all the finishers of the 2012 Boston Marathon. Take your personal achievement with you into your everyday life. And when someone says “No you can’t” remember the Hoyts, and say “Yes, I can!” Keep your eye on the finish line and don’t give up.

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Trish

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