Boston Marathon selects a familiar face as Grand Marshal
BOSTON (AP) — Dick and Rick Hoyt, who over the decades have become among the most recognizable faces of the Boston Marathon, may not be running as a team this year, but they are both very much involved in the festivities.
Dick Hoyt, 74, on Thursday was named Grand Marshal for this year’s race on April 20.
Dick’s son, Rick, is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair. His dad has pushed his son across the marathon finish line 32 times since 1980, including last year.
Together, they have finished more than 1,000 races and triathlons.
Due in part to Dick’s health, they intended 2013 to be their final race together, but they never finished because of the explosions at the finish line that killed three spectators and injured more than 260.
Rick, 53, is still in the thick of the action, however, and this year will be pushed by Billerica dentist Bryan Lyons, a member of Team Hoyt, the family nonprofit that helps the physically disabled become productive members of the community through sports and other activities.
“Year after year, Dick and Rick Hoyt toed the starting line in Hopkinton to celebrate the Boston Marathon, showing millions of runners and spectators they could achieve anything and that there are no limits,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race.
“Dick and Rick Hoyt will forever be synonymous with the Boston Marathon and the sport of running,” he said.
As Grand Marshal, the elder Hoyt will ride in a pace car ahead of the lead runners, heralding to spectators that thousands of runners will soon be coming.
Previous grand marshals have included four-time winner Bill Rodgers, as well as Roberta Gibb and Sara Mae Berman, the first two women to win the race in the days before women were even allowed to officially enter.