Dick Hoyt wasn’t supposed to push his son Rick in this year’s Boston Marathon.
The 73-year-old said he’s been having pains and issues with his back that should have made the 2013 Marathon his last.
But then the bombs went off.
“I just couldn’t believe something like that would happen,” Hoyt said in a recent interview. “I can’t believe people would do something like that.”
Instead of finishing, the Hoyts were among the thousands that were stopped before they could cross the finish line on Boylston Street. Soon after they found out what happened the Hoyts knew they wanted to run again.
This will be their 32nd Boston Marathon.
The Hoyts are as much a part of the Boston Marathon as the finish line or Heartbreak Hill. Dick Hoyt, pushing his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, has been a constant sight along the Marathon route nearly every Patriots Day for a generation. A life-size bronze statue made in their honor was unveiled near the starting line in Hopkinton last year.
While Hoyt said he’s looking forward to this year’s Marathon, he admits it won’t be his and his son’s fastest. Though it hasn’t stopped him from preparing as best he can.
Between stretching, training and exercising, the Hoyts have found time to also help out the victims of last year’s bombings. Dick Hoyt recently spoke at a fundraising event for Roseann Sdoia who lost a leg in the blasts. She will need a new prosthetic leg about every five years, the cost of which can run as much as $100,000.
“Anything that Rick and I can do to help to raise money for them just makes us feel so much better,” he said.
While this year will be their last Boston Marathon as a father and son team, it will not be the last Marathon for Rick Hoyt. His father said that while he will continue to race shorter distances with his son, members of the Team Hoyt charity will likely push Rick in future Boston Marathons.
For his last Marathon, Hoyt anticipates an emotional time with an “unbelievable” crowd.
“We’re just looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a great day,” Hoyt said. “We are Boston strong and Boston is going to be so much stronger this coming Boston Marathon.”
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.