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700 people participate in first annual Dick Hoyt Memorial ‘Yes You Can’ Run Together

By Julianne Lima,


Just days after iconic athlete Rick Hoyt passed away , hundreds of people took part in the event he helped plan in honor of his late father.

Event organizers tell Boston 25 News 700 people signed up to participate in the first annual Dick Hoyt Memorial “Yes You Can” Run Together on Saturday.

The race comes five days after 61-year-old Rick Hoyt passed away due to health complications. His father Dick died two years ago of heart failure at 80 years old.

“Although everyone is very saddened about the recent passing of Rick Hoyt, we all believe Rick would want the race to continue to honor his father,” the family said in a statement. “Rick was named the Race Director of the event and put his heart and soul into planning it over the past 5-6 months. We will be honoring both Dick and Rick and celebrating all their courageous and inspiring accomplishments over the past 40-plus years.”

Rick Hoyt had cerebral palsy, but that didn’t stop him from competing in more than 1,000 races with his father Dick, including triathlons and 32 Boston Marathons.

“What they have done and inspired so many people and motivated so many people to set goals, and not limits will never be forgotten,” said Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray. "

Rick’s brother Russ told Boston 25 News the father-son duo got their racing start decades ago when Rick was in high school.

“Rick came home and got on his computer and said, ‘Dad, can I run this race?’ and for the first time said those famous words ‘yes you can’ and that became their mantra,” said Russ Hoyt. “They went out to do that race. Everyone thought they might go to the corner, turn around and come back, not even finish. It was a 5-mile race, they ran the whole race. They came in second to last but not last, and that night Rick got back on his computer, he spelled, ‘Dad, when I’m running, it feels like my disability disappears’ and that was it, Dad was hooked, and Team Hoyt was born.”

Saturday’s event featured a 5-mile run, a 2-mile walk, and a kid’s fun run.

All runners began the race by passing by the Hoyt chair. The family hopes the race will only grow from here.

“I hope that more and more people get interested and want to come out I want to participate,” said Russ. “We just want everybody to not only run walk we want everybody to come and be with us and just celebrate their lives.”

Event organizers told Boston 25 News, heading into race day, they had raised more than $33,000 between registrations and donations and an additional $35,000 in sponsorships.

To learn more about Team Hoyt and the Hoyt Foundation and to support their cause, click here .

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