compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles
in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2
miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in
a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in
a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his
back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the
U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a
little lame, right?
what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except
save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years
ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during
birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control
be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors
told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months
old. ``Put him in an Institution.''
the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's
eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11
they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts
University and asked if there was Anything to help the
boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told.
``There's nothing going on in his brain.''
him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed.
Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up
with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor
by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick
was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!''
And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an
accident and the School organized a charity run for
him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''
right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who
never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push
his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me
who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two
day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we
were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''
that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed
with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could.
He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were
ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't
quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair
competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined
the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a
way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran
another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time
for Boston the following year.
somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''
a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a
bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid
through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.
they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling
15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to
be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing
a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?
Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,''
he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling''
he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they
run, swim and ride together.
year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their
24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than
20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes
in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which,
in case you don't keep track of these things, happens
to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man
in a wheelchair at the Time.
question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father
of the Century.''
Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years
ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors
found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If
you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told
him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So,
in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works
in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living
in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together.
They give speeches around the country and compete in
some backbreaking race every weekend, including this
night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he
really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad
sit in the chair and I push him once.''
the video is at the top ....