The town of Hopkinton is honoring Dick Hoyt, who inspired thousands of athletes by pushing his son, Rick, in a wheelchair in the Boston Marathon for decades.
The Hopkinton Select Board on Tuesday voted 4-0 to name a local street after Hoyt, who died last month at age 80.
“Hoyt Way” will be located at “the new Hopkinton Village Center residential development behind 25 & 35 Main Street,” according to the board’s minutes posted on the town’s website.
Brendan Tedstone, the Select Board chair, said he was glad there was an opportunity to honor Dick Hoyt’s legacy.
“A lot of influential people have come through the town,” he said in an interview Wednesday night. “The fact that there are two statues in town—one of them are Dick and Rick Hoyt, speaks volumes on what he means to the town of Hopkinton.”
Tedstone, who grew up in Hopkinton, said he remembers seeing Dick Hoyt pushing Rick Hoyt in the marathon as a kid.
“He was just a great guy,” he said. “He was an ambassador for the marathon, not withstanding all of the great stuff he did for his son.”
Hopkinton is where the Boston Marathon traditionally starts each year.
Dick Hoyt and his son had long left their mark on the cherished race, with the younger Hoyt joining his father year after year despite significant health challenges.
Rick Hoyt was born a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, and cannot walk or talk. The father-son team participated in more than 1,000 road races, marathons, and triathlons over the years. That impressive tally included 32 Boston Marathons, a stretch that ended in 2014 when Dick Hoyt was 73 and Rick Hoyt was 52.
The Hoyts intended to run their final marathon in 2013, but were among the more than 5,000 stopped before completion of the race after the bombings at the finish line. They finished the 2014 race in 7:37:33, often delayed by the legions of well-wishers along the course who stopped them to celebrate their achievement.
“It wasn’t tough out there,” Dick Hoyt said at the time, “but we made it a little tougher because of all our fans out there, it was just unbelievable crowds out there.”
The Hoyts eventually crossed the finish line in the evening with more than 20 members of Team Hoyt by their side.
Ahead of the 2013 race, Dick and Rick Hoyt were honored with a bronze statue in Hopkinton, seconds away from the marathon starting line.
“I had tears in my eyes,” Dick Hoyt said of the ceremony at the time. “To see after all these years of us running and competing. Who ever thought we would have a bronze statue made of us?
“It [doesn’t] get any better than that. To us this is the Stanley Cup, this is the World Series.”
At the time of Dick Hoyt’s death in March at the age of 80, the Boston Athletic Association remembered him as an “icon” who perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the annual springtime rite.
“Dick personified what it means to be a Boston Marathoner, finishing 32 races with son Rick,” the BAA tweeted at the time. “We are keeping his many family & friends in our prayers.”
After Dick Hoyt stepped away from running the race with his son due to an increasingly aching back, Team Hoyt member Brian Lyons took up the mantle so Rick could continue to participate. Lyons died last June.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the marathon for the second straight April this year, but the 2021 race is slated for October, provided the public health situation continues to improve.