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Dick Hoyt, inspiration to marathoners worldwide, dies at 80

Hoyt, who pushed his son Rick to the finish line of dozens of marathons, passed away on Wednesday

Photo by: TeamHoyt.com

Marathon icon Dick Hoyt has died at the age of 80, according to CBS Boston. Hoyt pushed his son, Rick, in dozens of marathons (including 32 runs at the Boston Marathon), and the pair inspired thousands of athletes worldwide in their close to four decades of racing together. Hoyt reportedly died in his sleep.

The father-son duo — known as Team Hoyt in the sporting world — began racing together in 1977. Rick, who is quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy, told his father that he wanted to complete a five-mile fundraising run for a local athlete who had been paralyzed after an accident, and although Hoyt wasn’t a runner at the time, he signed up for the event with his son. 

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As noted on the Team Hoyt website, after their run together, Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” They continued to race, and in 1980, Team Hoyt entered the Boston Marathon for the first time. From that point on, they only became more and more well known in the world of endurance sports, and Hoyt pushed Rick to the Boston finish line 31 more times, with their final run coming together in 2014. 

They also celebrated their 1,000th race at the 2009 Boston Marathon, adding to the long list of road races, triathlons and duathlons Hoyt and his son completed together. Following the news of Hoyt’s death, the Boston Athletic Association released a statement, calling him “one of a kind” and a Boston Marathon legend. 

RELATED: Life-size statue of Rick and Dick Hoyt unveiled in Hopkinton

“Dick personified what it meant to a be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion and love every Patriots’ Day for more than three decades,” the statement reads. “He was not only a fan favourite who inspired thousands, but also a loyal friend and father who took pride in spending quality time with his son Rick while running from Hopkinton to Boston.”