Iconic father and son ready for final running of Boston Marathon

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April 20, 2014, 10:28 pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo) -  Last year was supposed to be the final Boston Marathon, a victory lap, for the father-son team that broke boundaries and showed the world that a disability didn't affect their ability to excel in athletics and in life.

Rick Hoyt has cerebral palsy, and for more than three decades, he and his father Dick have run the marathon - the crown jewel in the wide array of athletic feats they've pulled off that doctors once said would never happen.

The 117th Boston Marathon was to be their 31st run, and their last, until the unthinkable happened.

"We got to the 23-mile marker and I saw a lot of police activity, which, to me was different," said Dick. "I stopped and asked a police officer, I said, 'Is anything going on?' And he said, 'Yes, two bombs had exploded at the finish line.'"

The Hoyts were stunned.

Now they were running, not to finish the race, but to try to reach their loved ones on Boylston Street.

"To me, the marathon was over, because all of our families were at that finish line in the stands and that's what I was concerned about," said Dick.

He says it took more than an hour and a half, and some help from a good Samaritan before they finally reached the Team Hoyt meeting place at the Sheraton Hotel.

"This fella come out, out of the crowd, and he says, 'Dick, I have a Jeep over there, if you want, you could take it,'" said Dick. "Fortunately for us, nobody was injured. The bomb actually exploded right in front of them, but it was across the street, so they weren't injured."

But the Hoyts were horrified to see the damage the bombs had caused, and angry someone would attack the innocence of their beloved Boston Marathon.

"I just can't believe that somebody would do something like that, and they don't care who they're going to injure or kill," said Dick. "So that's why we decided, right then and there, that we were going to run this year and honor the people who got killed and injured."

The team that has inspired the world never to give up is inspired by a city that refuses to give in to terrorists.

"I think it's just going to be awesome to be able to finish it and honor those people," said Dick. "Boston is strong, and it always will be."

Dick says while this will be his last Boston Marathon, Rick will likely run again with a member of Team Hoyt.

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Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Alysha Palumbo, Boston Marathon, Rick Hoyt, Dick Hoyt, Team Hoyt, Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Marathon bombing, Boston Strong, Dick and Rick Hoyt
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