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Rick Hoyt announces his retirement from the Boston Marathon, citing his health

Dick Hoyt pushed his son Rick across the finish line at the Boston Marathon in 1998.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/Jim Davis/Globe Staff/file

Rick Hoyt, who for years completed the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair famously pushed by his father, announced his official retirement from the race earlier this week.

Hoyt made the announcement Tuesday in a video recording that he sent to the Globe.

Hoyt said his body could no longer endure the 26.2-mile race.

“I have ... serious lung issues after repeated episodes of pneumonia, therefore my health has to be my priority,” Hoyt said in the recorded statement. “I will run shorter races when appropriate.”

Hoyt, who has cerebral palsy, participated in his first race in 1977, according to the Team Hoyt website. It was a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident, and his father, Dick Hoyt, pushed him in his wheelchair the whole way. They finished next to last. After the race, Hoyt told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

Hoyt went on to complete 32 Boston Marathons with his father between 1980 and 2014. He finished his last Boston Marathon in 2017 with Bryan Lyons, who died in 2020. His father, Dick Hoyt, died of heart failure in March 2021 at the age of 80.


“I have many wonderful memories of running the Boston Marathon,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt said one of his favorite memories was from the 1993 Boston Marathon, which took place weeks before his graduation from Boston University. He said spectators along the route that year made signs and yelled “congratulations” as he and his father went by.

Hoyt said he is happy with his decision to retire from racing but plans to continue his work with Team Hoyt, the nonprofit organization they started in 1989 to help disabled young people.

“In closing, I’m dedicated to running the Hoyt foundation with my brothers, and we are very excited that we are being asked by the BAA to become an official charity for the Boston Marathon,” he said.


In this April 15, 2013, file photo Dick Hoyt, left, pushes his son Rick along the Boston Marathon course in Wellesley.Michael Dwyer

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.