“Dad, when I’m running, it feels like my disability disappears.” – Rick Hoyt
Father’s Day is approaching and triathlon is filled with inspiring father figures who serve as role models for future generations of the sport. The Hoyts are one of the most inspirational and well-known father-son duos in triathlon history. Team Hoyt, comprising Rick and Dick Hoyt, has competed in numerous running and multisport races including six full distance triathlons. What sets them apart from many other father-son teams is their resilience in the face of adversity. Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy at birth and his parents worked hard to foster a life for him that would be characterized by inclusion in sport and community regardless of his disability. After Rick was inspired to race in a local 8 km race to benefit a paralyzed athlete, Dick, a casual runner up until that point, agreed to run and push Rick in a wheelchair so that they could complete the race together. They finished close to last, but were motivated to push themselves further. The two went on to compete in hundreds of races including the Boston Marathon (Rick’s all-time favourite) and to achieve an Ironman PB of 13:43:37.