He might be bound to a wheelchair and would never have the chance to walk on his own yet Rick Hoyt has joined more races than you! For 40 years now, he and his dad, Dick Hoyt, have been joining various races, marathons, and triathlons with a whopping total of 1,000 runs!
But things didn’t appear as bright when Rick was born back in 1962. He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy (CP) after complications during his delivery led to his brain being deprived of oxygen for several minutes.
His parents were told to get him institutionalized because there was no hope that he would ever walk, learn how to talk, and do things that ‘normal’ kids do. But Dick and his wife, Judy, didn’t give up on Rick.
They took him home, treated him like a normal child, and taught him the alphabet even if he couldn’t talk. In 1972, engineers were able to build him a special computer which he used to communicate – and his first words were “Go Bruins!” to cheer for his favorite sports team.
Five years later, it was Rick who encouraged his father to join a benefit race for a Lacrosse player who was paralyzed. Little did Dick know that this would be the start of a life of racing for them as Team Hoyt.
While Dick didn’t have experience as a long-distance runner, he didn’t do the race alone but pushed Rick in his wheelchair.
“Dad, when I’m running, it doesn’t feel like I’m handicapped,” an exuberant Rick declared. It was the only motivation Dick needed to join more races for his son.
At first, Dick would push Rick through the races but they did not stop there. The father and son tandem would soon join triathlons, with Dick carrying his son using special equipment just to get through the triathlon’s different segments.
The going was tough and their progress is often slower than other contestants. They never won the a race as the fastest runners but they certainly won the hearts of thousands of people who admired their story and perseverance.
Clearly, this is the best example of a father’s love.