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Yes, They Did: First Annual Dick Hoyt Memorial Race was an Emotional Tribute

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It was a beautiful sunny day in Hopkinton for the first annual Dick Hoyt Memorial “Yes You Can” 5-Mile Road Race. More than 700 runners, walkers and duos showed up to participate, many traveling hundreds of miles to join. 

In a fateful twist, race director Rick Hoyt died just 5 days prior. In his opening speech to the racers, brother Russ Hoyt said the family deliberated at length on whether to continue, but they heard their father Dick and Rick saying the three words that made them famous: “Yes You Can”.

Russ Hoyt (L) and Rob Hoyt open the race.
Russ Hoyt (L) and Rob Hoyt open the race.

There was an outpouring of support for Russ and Rob Hoyt, with many friends and racers offering smiles and tearful hugs.

Dave McGillivray

Assistant race Director Dave McGillivray – race director of the Boston Marathon – took the reins in Rick’s honor and stirred the crowd with a moving speech about Rick’s life and his incredible attention to detail. 

“Just last week Rick was asking me if we’d ensured that the houses on the course had been briefed on the race day plans. He cared deeply about the residents of Hopkinton,” said McGillivray.  

26.2 Foundation President, and former race director of the Boston Marathon, Tim Kilduff led the start. Boston Athletic Association President and CEO Jack Fleming was also on hand for the festivities.

“It is inspiring to see how the town of Hopkinton has embraced Team Hoyt and the entire Hoyt family over the decades,” said Fleming. “There is no better place to celebrate the lives of Dick and Rick. You can really feel their spirit here today.”

B.A.A. CEO Jack Fleming and 26.2 Foundation CEO Tim Kilduff.
B.A.A. CEO Jack Fleming and 26.2 Foundation CEO Tim Kilduff.
The duos led off with runners not far behind
Wayne Ross
Wayne Ross, a professional cyclist that suffered a career-changing accident while attempting to set a world cycling record, joined the field. Ross shared many fond memories of Dick and Rick Hoyt, emphasizing how kind and helpful they were to him following his injury.
Many racers were supported by volunteer “pushers” from Team Hoyt.

Further reading on the Hoyt’s:

>> RELATED: Legendary Athlete Rick Hoyt Dead at 61

>> RELATED: Team Hoyt presents their inspiring story to Marathon Students

>> RELATED: The Untold Story of Judy Hoyt, Champion of the Disabled

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