Rick Hoyt, who became a Boston Marathon runner with wheelchair-bound father, dies at 61

Boston Marathoner Rick Hoyt has died at the age of 61

BOSTON — Rick Hoyt, who with his father pushing his wheelchair became a staple of the Boston Marathon and other races for decades, has died. He was 61 years old.

On Monday, his family announced that Hoyt had died of respiratory complications.

“Rick and our father Dick have been icons in the road racing and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and have inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things,” the Hoyt family said in a statement.

Rick Hoyt had cerebral palsy, which made him a quadriplegic, but he and his dad became as much a part of the Boston Marathon as Sore Feet or Heartbreak Hill. With Dick Hoyt pushing, the two completed the course 32 times.

Each April, the Boston Athletic Association presents the Rick & Dick Hoyt Award to someone who shows spirit through advocacy and inclusion.

“Rick Hoyt will always be remembered as an icon of the Boston Marathon and for embodying the ‘yes you can’ mentality that defined Team Hoyt,” the league said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have been able to call Rick a friend, mentor, pioneer, and Boston Marathoner.”

The father and son have also competed in over 1,000 other races, including duathlons and triathlons; In 1992 they completed a run and bike across the United States covering 3,735 miles (6,010 km) in 45 days. In 2013, a statue of a father and son was erected near the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton.

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Dick Hoyt passed away in 2021.

“It’s hard to believe they are both gone now but their legacy will never die. Dick and Rick Hoyts have inspired millions around the world,” said Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon and other events the Hoyts participated in. We will always be grateful, Rick, for your courage, determination, perseverance, and willingness to give of yourself so that others can, too, believe in themselves, set goals and make a difference in this world as you did. “

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