US marathon legends Team Hoyt are set for first Irish race

US father and son marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt are preparing to take part in their first Irish race.

Dick, 75, who has pushed his wheelchair-bound son, Rick, 53, in more than 1,000 marathons, duathlons, and triathlons, are taking part in Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon in Clonakilty, West Cork, in July.

Organisers of the July 25 event said they are delighted that Team Hoyt, whose inspiring videos of their marathon exploits have been viewed millions of times on YouTube, have agreed to come to Ireland.

“They are amazing human beings,” race organiser Bobby Hilliard said. “They are flying in from the US for a week before the event and will host a number of inspirational talks in the days before. We hope their participation will show that marathons are inclusive — for everybody.”

Rick suffered oxygen deprivation at birth and was diagnosed as a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. He is confined to a wheelchair.

Dick and his wife Judy ignored advice to put their son in an institution and set about ensuring he was included in community, sports, education, and, eventually, the workplace.

The father and son’s inspirational marathon story began in 1977 when Rick, aged 15, said he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralysed in an accident.

Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished almost last, marking the start of their inspirational journey together which has seen them complete more than 1,000 races.

They also biked and ran across the US in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days, and have run more than 30 Boston marathons.

The 2013 event was going to be their last Boston marathon together, but they were not able to finish due to the bomb attack. They returned last year for the ‘Boston Strong’ marathon and completed it.

You can register to run with them in Clonakilty on July 25 by logging on to www.runclon.ie.

READ NEXT: Robert McNamara explains his need to just keep running

More in this section