Big hearted runner sustains Boston Marathon tradition

Dick and Rick Hoyt didn’t want a big name to help continue their tradition of running the Boston Marathon every year. They wanted a big heart.

Perhaps you remember the story of the pair — the elderly father who ran his last marathon last year, while pushing his wheelchair-bound son.

A dentist — a family friend — is taking over the task. And the father is the marathon’s grand marshal this year, Running World reports.

(Bryan) Lyons does have some experience running with Rick, 53. Since January, the two have completed a few shorter local road races and gone on training runs together, according to the Lowell Sun. If Rick isn’t available, Lyons puts sandbags into the wheelchair to simulate his weight.

Although Dick Hoyt, 74, won’t be running, he won’t absent from the marathon. He’s the race’s grand marshal, and will ride in a pace car ahead of the lead runners.

The Hoyt’s story, chronicled by Runner’s World in 2007, has inspired many. Since 1977 when Rick asked Dick to push him through a 5-mile race, the father-son duo has completed more than 1,100 races, including Ironman triathlons.

“Dick will continue to be at the head of the field, leading 30,000 runners on their trek to Boston,” Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association, said in a press release. “Dick and Rick Hoyt will forever be synonymous with the Boston Marathon and the sport of running.”

The Boston Marathon will be run a week from Monday.