Boston Marathon icon Rick Hoyt dies at 61

Boston Marathon icon Rick Hoyt dies at 61

On Monday, the Hoyt Family announced the death of Boston Marathon icon Rick Hoyt at age 61. Hoyt was a longtime staple of the Boston Marathon, who was pushed to the Boston Marathon finish line in his wheelchair by his father, dickfor 32 years between 1980 and 2014.

Rick Hoyt
Photo: BAA

“It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announces the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick, this morning. Rick was 61 years old. Rick passed away due to complications with his respiratory system,” the family said in a statement. “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.”

Hoyt had cerebral palsy, which left him a quadriplegic. In 1977, he told his father, Dick, that he wanted to take part in a charity run for a lacrosse player who was paralyzed in an accident. Dick pushed his son for the race, and after, he told his father of him, “When I’m running, I do n’t feel handicapped.”

The duo’s participation in marathons, triathlons, and endurance events showcased that physical disabilities should never limit one’s aspirations. Hoyt’s presence on the Boston Marathon course symbolized courage and the belief that anything is possible.

Dick died in March 2021 at age 80. The same year his son retired from marathons.

Rick Hoyt and Dick Hoyt
Photo: BAA

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) released a statement in memory of Hoyt:

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.

Our thoughts go out to the Hoyt family, Rick’s many friends, and all who were touched by his positivity.

The BAA has continued to honor Hoyt’s legacy at the Boston Marathon, establishing the Rick & Dick Hoyt Award in 2021. The award annually recognizes individuals who promote inclusivity and advocate for others in the community.

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