Just this week, we woke up in the Boston area to a light dusting of mid-April snow, a cruel reminder of the incredibly long winter that we all endured here in New England. But there is no more sure sign of spring in Boston than the Boston Marathon, which is run every year on Patriots Day, this coming Monday.
This year, of course, is a special one for the Boston Marathon because it is the one-year anniversary of the tragic bombing incident that cost the lives of four people, injured hundreds more and shocked millions around the world.
Anyone who has been following the preparations for the Marathon this year has seen the incredible resilience, pride, hopefulness and stubbornness of the participants in the Boston Marathon. I can’t think of anyone who represents this incredible group better than the father and son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, known collectively as Team Hoyt. If you have followed the media coverage leading up to the Marathon, you have probably seen an image of this father and son team with the father, Dick, pushing his son, Rick, in a modified wheelchair. They’ve been running road races together since 1977 and in that time have completed over 1,000 races, including six Ironman Triathlons and dozens of Boston Marathons. At 73 years old, last year was set to be Dick’s final Boston Marathon. Because of the bombing, Dick and Rick were stopped at the 23-mile mark — a little more than three miles short of their goal.
Nobody who knows Dick and Rick was surprised to find out that they would be running one more Boston Marathon this year — they always finish what they start.
While many people have heard this story, few know the incredible impact that Dick and Rick have had when it comes to raising awareness and money to support the needs of people with disabilities. Their foundation, Team Hoyt, has raised millions of dollars over the years with a special focus on assistive technology — a topic near and dear to our hearts. In fact, I had the honor last year of accepting the Team Hoyt Award from Easter Seals Massachusetts on behalf of Nuance for contributions to assistive technology over the years.
This Monday, I will be on Heartbreak Hill along the Boston Marathon course cheering on all the participants in this year’s marathon. But I will be cheering the loudest when I see Dick pushing Rick up Heartbreak Hill as he successfully completes what he started last year — his final Boston Marathon for Team Hoyt.