Dick Hoyt: Boston going to be a lot stronger this year - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Dick Hoyt: Boston going to be a lot stronger this year

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Western Massachusetts native, Dick Hoyt thought last year's Boston Marathon with his son, Rick would be his last.

That is until mile 25 when he was suddenly one of thousands stopped on the course, as two bombs exploded at the finish line.

One year after a city rallied together and became even stronger, the Hoyt's slogan, "yes you can", takes on a whole new meaning.

The story of Rick and Dick and the Boston Marathon begins with rejection.

"They turned us down. They said, 'no you're different than everybody else, you can't run with us," Dick said. 

Now the father and son duo, are a highlight at the marathon, complete with a bronze statue near the start line commemorating three decades of running the Boston Marathon.

It was a legacy Dick says he was ready to finish last year, one last Marathon Monday.

"We got out there, it was a beautiful day and everybody wanted to get off and see the statue. So all of our team members had personal pictures with the statue and group pictures," Dick said.

Like they'd done so many times before, Dick and Rick took their place with the wheelchair runners, they were greeted by fans along the route. It was another spirited, memorable race along the 26.2 mile stretch between Hopkinton and Boston.

"We were having a great run," Dick said. 

And then everything changed.

"We got to mile 23 and I noticed a big difference in police activity going on so I stopped and asked a police officer, what was going on, if anything was going on, and he said yes two bombs had exploded at the finish line," said Dick, "To me the marathon was all over because all of our families were in those stands and the bomb actually exploded right in front of them."

They kept going as far as they could, to get to the finish line or at least get somewhere to find out their loved ones were safe.

"So they stopped us again at the 25 mile marker and they said that's it, the marathon is all over."

A Good Samaritan would drive them back to their hotel, where they would fortunately find their friends and family.

Others would not be so lucky.

That's how Dick knew, another Boston Marathon would be in their future.

"We're going back. The reason is last year was supposed to be our last Boston Marathon, but because of the bombing we're going back to run in honor of the people who got killed and injured."

Their's has always been a story of strength, even before the words "Boston Strong" were coined. But now that strength means so much more, especially to those who continue to recover after last year.

"Boston is strong and it's going to be a lot stronger this year."

You can follow Rick and Dick's progress every step of the way on Marathon Monday by going to the Marathon website and entering their bib number, 25418.

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