Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt dies at 80

Hampden County

HOLLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – Boston Marathon icon and Holland resident Dick Hoyt has died at the age of 80.

An image that will forever be engraved in the hearts of so many. A beautiful bond between father and son, the epitome of a parents love.

It was in 1981 that the running world first watched Dick Hoyt push his quadriplegic son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, as he ran the Boston Marathon.

The pair from the Hampden County town of Holland had the opportunity to participate in their first-ever International Triathlon in El Salvador in 1991.

Their hometown station, 22News traveled with them to watch history unfold. Former anchor Barry Kriger made the trip. He and Dick bonded over the years.

“Dick Hoyt pioneered this concept of disability inclusion and made it real. He and his son Rick made it real. Rick and Dick were friends to me. I covered their story over the course of decades. You don’t normally get the chance to do that as a journalist and in that way, I’m quite blessed,” said former 22News anchor Barry Kriger.

Heartfelt messages continue to pour out, reflecting on Dick’s life and legacy. The Boston Athletic Association saying Dick personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner and the he was one of a kind.

“The B.A.A. is tremendously saddened to learn of the passing of Boston Marathon icon Dick Hoyt. Dick personified what it meant to be a Boston Marathoner, showing determination, passion, and love every Patriots’ Day for more than three decades. He was not only a fan-favorite 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.

As a leader of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt and his son Rick quickly became Boston Marathon legends after their first run in 1980. Pushing Rick in a custom racing chair, Dick and Rick completed 32 Boston Marathons together, including a final finish in 2014. The pair’s bond and presence throughout the course became synonymous with the Boston Marathon. Team Hoyt’s 1,000th race together came at the 2009 Boston Marathon, and in 2015 Dick served as Grand Marshal of the race in recognition of his impact on the event and Para Athlete community.

Dick Hoyt was one-of-a-kind. We will sincerely miss Dick, and are keeping his many family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.”

Governor Charlie Baker also offering his condolences.

The father and son had overcome many obstacles and set backs together. Including in 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, that was supposed to be Dick’s final race. He was unable to finish it due to the attack. He did the following year and 22News was there once again to witness it.

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In Hopkinton, a few yards from the marathons starting line, the Hoyt’s will always be part of the race, where this statue stands in their honor.

Hoyt had to retire from running several years ago to focus on his health.

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