When the gun sounds marking the 117th running of the Boston Marathon this Patriots Day, there will be two well-recognized runners leading the thousands of athletes for the incredible 31st time.
Father and son marathon legends Dick and Rick Hoyt have forged their legacy in Boston Marathon lore over the past one-third of a century and are every bit as synonymous with the legendary Boston race as the historic village of Hopkinton, the screaming women of Wellesley College and the gut-wrenching reputation of Heartbreak Hill.
In fact, the Hoyts are so deeply enshrined in the annals of Boston Marathon history that the inspirational team will have a life-sized bronze statue, which was created in their likeness by renowned artist Mike Tabor, unveiled in the shadows of the starting line just a week prior to the beginning of the annual event.
Thirty-one Boston Marathon entries is of course noteworthy, but the milestone is made statue-worthy due to the fact that the the elder Hoyt, Dick, is 72 years old, and his son, Rick, age 51, has spent his entire life in a wheelchair. Rick lives each day as a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, the result of oxygen deprivation at birth.
Dick pushes Rick in a wheelchair for each and every step of the 26.2-mile event to the delight of the millions of adoring fans who know their inspiring lifelong adventure. Their story of inspiration can be found on their website at www.teamhoyt.com or on the pages of Rick's new bestselling book entitled One Letter at a Time.
Rick completed a marathon of his own in writing the book, since he's nonverbal and communicated his inspirational story one letter at a time.
As they do each year, Dick and Rick have assembled a team of runners from Canada and around the United States who comprise The Hoyt Foundation 2013 Boston Marathon team.
The team will be running to raise money for the Hoyt Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity whose purpose is to help integrate disabled people into everyday activities so they may live fruitful and productive lives. Friends, fans and anyone moved by their inspirational story can donate towards the marathon team's $120,000 fundraising goal at Team Hoyt Crowdrise.
The principal sponsor of Team Hoyt is John Hancock, who is celebrating its 28th year as sponsor of the Boston Marathon. A special thanks goes out to John Hancock from Dick and Rick and from the runners that make up the 2013 Team Hoyt Marathon Team.
Dick and Rick Hoyt go to great lengths to share their Yes You Can story and are proud to be joined by these equally inspirational runners.
Doug Gilliland serves as the Team Hoyt Race Director for the Boston Marathon. He will be running his ninth Boston Marathon in April.
"We first met at the 2005 Boston Marathon Expo. I was anxious because I was 42 and had not run a marathon since I was 30. My training did not go well. My longest run was 16 miles" explains Gilliland, who lives life as a personal injury lawyer from San Diego when not running with the Hoyts.
"When I saw them, I thought of all the things they have accomplished. It gave me a peaceful feeling knowing that if they could do all these things, I could probably make it 26.2 miles. It also made me a little embarrassed about all my bitching and self doubt."
Varinka Barbini Emsinger is the team coach, filling in for previous coach, Uta Pippig, who is taking a year off due to personal obligations. Varinka is a Lexington resident and a Police Officer with the Lexington Division of Police. She has been in the United States Army for almost 13 years serving as Captain with the Kentucky Army National Guard and came from an active background playing soccer, basketball, track & field, cross-country and field hockey.
As she developed as an athlete, she became an accomplished high school runner and field hockey player that afforded her the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division I level for both Temple and Marshall Universities.
"After college, I furthered my running career through the Military Sports Competition Team, All National Guard Marathon Team, the Kentucky National Guard Marathon Team and the World Police & Fire Games, adds Barbini. " I have competed in events from coast to coast, Canada, Australia, and Turkey. My pure joy for the sport expanded my distances, events and experiences."
"I now find just as must fulfillment in helping newcomers to the sport achieve their goals. I look to be a role model for soldiers, citizens and athletes everywhere."
Corey Hanrahan, 32, from San Diego, California, is an attorney, husband and father. This is Corey's third straight Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt. A fun fact about Corey is that en route to Boston for the 2011 Boston Marathon, he forgot to pack any underwear.
Corey is nicknamed the Gun Show for his startling muscle tone and dashing good looks. Known by his trademark hair, you can find him running through the streets of San Diego shirtless, even in the coldest (55 degree Fahrenheit) of San Diego days.
If you ask Corey what his favorite part of being on Team Hoyt is, he would probably tell you that it is being part of something bigger than himself -- but the true answer is probably getting to see Team Hoyt social media director Todd Civin every year.
Bryan Lyons, 43, of Methuen, Massachusetts, is a dentist and also an Ironman triathlete! Bryan has run ten marathons with a PR of 4:15, and this will be Bryan’s fifth Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt.
On November 18, 2011, Bryan completed his first Ironman (Arizona) with splits of 1:13:17 swim, 5:57:27 bike and a 4:41 marathon.
Dennis Charles, 41, of Framingham, Massachusetts, is a career coach. Dennis was part of the 2011 and 2012 Boston Marathon teams but had to miss last years' event due to an appendicitis attack which occurred weeks before the race while Dennis visited his native country of England.
Two of the Charles’ five children, Olivia and Ethan, were adopted after they lost their father in the 9-11 World Trade Center attacks. Dennis runs to set an example for all his children about goal setting and determination.
Nicole “Nikki” DeRome, 41, from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts is a union painter. Nikki’s mother had a degenerative condition called cerebellum disorder. After seeing the Hoyts run the Boston Marathon, Nikki asked her mother if she wanted to run in races with her.
Her mother said yes! Nikki approached a local bike shop to try and find a sponsor. But Nikki’s mom passed in May 2006, and they never ran together.
The following year Nikki ran her first half. Nikki joined the team in 2009 to run in memory of her mother and in thanks for all the inspiration the Hoyts gave them. She is now a 4:12 marathoner and will be running her fifth consecutive Boston Marathon with the Hoyts this April in memory of her mother, Denise DeRome.
Jennifer Famiglietti, 40, of Lexington Massachusetts is a social worker with John Hancock. This will be Jennifer's 4th marathon (3rd Boston) and she is still trying to beat her PR time from her very first Boston in 2011. (4:21). Jennifer was challenged to run at 2011 marathon by her sister, fellow Team Hoyt member Chris Samaras, and has been running ever since.
This year John Hancock gave their employee runners an opportunity to run for the charity of their choice and Jennifer chose the Hoyt's without hesitation. "I love this team and the Hoyts and can not imaging NOT running for them. Yes You Can has become a family motto, and I am proud to represent Team Hoyt in the 2013 Boston Marathon!"
Maureen "Mo" Hayes, 40, of Scituate, Massachusetts, is working raising two daughters and volunteering endlessly at their school. Though running is her favorite form of "me time", she also enjoys swimming, spinning, tennis and Pilates.
Maureen has completed eight marathons (6 Boston's) with a PR of 4:22. This is Mo's second year on Team Hoyt. In early December, she invited Dick and Rick to speak at her daughters' school, and is still, to this day, approached by children, parents and staff who were deeply inspired by their presentation
Wes Harding currently resides in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada with his wife, Sue, and four daughters, Rebekah, Jessica, Anissa & Ciera and their two dogs Riley and Presley. He is a 1990 graduate of McMaster University with a degree in Religious Studies and a 2011 graduate of Windsor University with a degree in Education.
Wes recently released his first book entitled, Destined to Run; My Spiritual Journey from Couch Potato to Ironman. In his spare time, Wes is a motivational speaker, encouraging people to live out their dreams because “anything is possible”.
Wes ran as a member of the Team Hoyt Boston Marathon team in April of 2012 and will be returning for his sophomore campaign in April, 2013. He completed the Ironman in Lake Placid, NY in the fall of 2012 and ran as an Angel with my Team Triumph Michigan in the summer of '12.
David Lusignan, 37, from Woodstock, Connecticut, is an information systems director, marathon runner and triathlete in his second year with the Team. Dave has completed 2 Ironman triathlons and 6 marathons, including 3 Boston Marathons. Dave is another one of the Team's qualified runners.
Last year, through Team Hoyt, Dave became a member of myTEAM TRIUMPH – Cape Cod, an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races. Dave looks forward to increasing his involvement in events with organizations like mTT – Cape Cod over the coming years.
“Bringing others into the thrill of the race is such a rewarding experience for me; it has been transforming actually. Sharing the full experience of an event from start to finish with another person is very unique and personal – the rider gets to experience the ebb and flow of the course just like any other athlete and they can feel it through the pace we’re moving at and the pace of the other competitors, my breathing, etc. The rider is the one person that knows exactly how the race went for me that day because they lived it with me whereas everyone else I know has to ask me about it after we’re done.”
Trish Newsom, 43, from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, is a PE teacher and counselor. She participated in a group called Run for God Bible Study, where she learned of Team Hoyt and felt a calling to run Boston. She trained for only seven weeks and ran the RNR San Diego in June 2011. She ran a 3:51:51 and missed qualifying by 53 seconds.
Two weeks later, Trish entered another marathon set for September 4, 2011 (one of the last Boston qualifiers) and she qualified with a time of 3:48:59. However, due to the new qualifying procedure set in place that year, they only accepted runners with a 3:48:46 or better. Trish missed it by 13 seconds (less than half a second per mile).
Still feeling called, she applied for the Alzheimer’s charity team. Then a friend suggested she contact Team Hoyt, which brought her journey full circle.
Team Hoyt just had an alum drop due to a family situation and Trish e-mailed Team Hoyt that same day. Thirty minutes after Trish was welcomed to Team Hoyt, Trish received an e-mail from Alzheimer’s saying NO. This will now be her second year as a Team Hoyt member.
Jim Pathman, 48, from San Diego, California is a technology guy. This will be Jim’s second marathon with Team Hoyt. Jim has two wonderful sons, both with CP, and they race in triathlons with Jim, Team Hoyt style, except the boys’ wheelchair is a double-wide!
Jim broke a bone in his leg in December of 2011 and hadn't begun running as of the beginning of February, 2012. He was cleared to run 200 yards twice a day for a week and had a good enough base to complete Boston last year. He plans to run this year injury free and hoping for a personal best.
Meghan Cole, 25 of Gloucester, Massachusetts is a physical therapist. She is a former Division 3 collegiate field hockey player and 400m hurdler. As a sprinter she rarely competed in distances greater than 400m. This will be Meghan's first marathon and first year with Team Hoyt. She was inspired by the Hoyt's story and very excited to be a part of Team Hoyt this year!
Dan Quinn, of North Reading, Massachusetts, 31, is in software sales for Oracle. Dan cross-trains with 18 holes on the local golf course. He has run two marathons and his goal is to break 5:00 at Boston. He recently hosted his second annual 5K road race to raise funds for the Team Hoyt Marathon Team.
Neil Feldman,Podiatrist and owner of Central Massachusetts Podiatry, the premier center of pediatric sports medicine in New England
He will be running his eigth Boston Marathon and looking to break 3 hours. He had a personal best 3:02 last year at Providence, 3 weeks after Boston's 90 degree debacle in which he ran a 3:27. He has completed 7 Ironman triathlon's including 2 World championships in Kona, and has also run ultra races of 43 (Wapack), 50 (Stone Cat) and 100 miles (Vermont, 2010).
Feldman is very much into his family, running ), trail running, reading (non-fiction), nature, golf and music (play guitar and cello - though not at a high level).
Morrie Ripley, 38, of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, was paralyzed from the neck down after hitting a moose with his car. He could not feed, wash or care for himself. Through extensive rehab, he was able to take a step and joked to his neurologist that the Boston Marathon was next. His neurologist told Morrie that was not going to happen.
That was all Morrie needed to hear. Ten years after the accident, Morrie ran his first marathon. On April 16, 2012, he ran the Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt and presented his medal to his doctor who advised him to keep his dreams reasonable. Morrie hasn't stopped dreaming yet.
Chris Samaras, 37, of Redding, California, is a kindergarten teacher. She is Jennifer Famiglietti’s sister. She has run ten marathons. Chris is very excited to be running this year with her east coast sister, Jennifer.
Chris ran the California International Marathon in December hoping to make a new PR of 3:20. She ran 3:10:26! Chris says she is working on perfecting the art of carbo loading. She ran her 3:10:26 without taking in food or gels.
Tammy Stapleton, 42, from Reading, Massachusetts, is a former teacher and now homemaker that swims, bikes, weight trains and does yoga in addition to running.
She has run two marathons and four half marathons. She was passed by Dick and Rick during the run leg of the Timberman Triathlon, and it inspired her to run her first marathon. She is looking to break five hours this year.
Chuck Wagner, 26, from San Diego, California, is a data analytics specialist. Chuck, a highly recruited high school lacrosse player from California, was a four-year D-3 varsity lacrosse letter winner at Whittier College in Los Angeles and team captain.
He was suddenly hospitalized with bipolar manic disorder in 2010 and was hospitalized for over a month. He called from the hospital to say he wanted to run a marathon with Team Hoyt. During training in 2011 Chuck collapsed 100 yards from the finish of the 2011 Carlsbad Half Marathon due to a complication with his meds. Chuck never finished.
Ninety days later, he finished the Boston Marathon and now returns for his third.
Ian Duffy, 29, of Somerville, Massachusetts, is a financial risk analyst, soccer player and cyclist. He only started running “seriously” about two years ago. He ran a PR of 3:15 with a serious cramp at mile 23, just five minutes from the 3:10 is qualifying for his age group.
Adam Hurst,37, of Waltham MA is a program manager for the USAF. He has had a goal of competing in the Boston Marathon that has wanted to fulfill. Adam has known of the Hoyt's since youth and feels it a great honor to run and raise money for The Hoyt foundation and be part of great teammates with tremendously inspiring stories. Adam has run one other marathon in 2004 and his goal is to beat previous pr time of 3:42.47
John Spindler - "I first heard about Team Hoyt and the Hoyt story from my wife. I had been running marathons for a couple of years and always wanted to qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon. In the summer of 2011 I lost my job and decided it was the perfect opportunity to fulfill this ambition. During the time I was training, my wife Cindy sent me links to videos of the Hoyts for inspiration and suggested that perhaps I should join them. I thought it was an intriguing idea and an amazing story (like Dick, I didn’t start running marathons until relatively late in life), but thought “wait until I can actually qualify for Boston.”
"My wife discovered the Hoyt story because we have a 9 year old child with cerebral palsy. Jillian Akers has what is termed mild cerebral palsy, but it nonetheless erects a series of daily challenges to her, not the least of which is compromised mobility. When I first met Jillian, she was just starting to be able to keep up a modest saunter. But some months later, she saw me running on a treadmill in our garage. I was surprised when she asked if she could run on it. Not only is Jillian challenged mobility-wise, but she is easily frightened, so this really took a lot of gumption for her. Fearing the worst, I hovered behind her, kept a close eye, and set the treadmill to 2 mph. She often requested to use the treadmill after that day."
"Her interest didn’t stop with the treadmill. Some months later, in the summer of 2011, she wanted to go run with me at the local high school track, where I would run intervals. I was surprised and filled with wonder to see her do her best on the track. It may have been hard for her, but she wanted to try, and wasn’t going to give up!"
"My training went well and I qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3 hours and 8 minutes at the Long Beach Marathon in October 2011. It was my sixth marathon since my first one in San Diego in May 2009, where I ran a time of 3 hours and 21 minutes. Later on that year I heard about the 1-mile kid’s marathon held at Legoland in January in Carlsbad, CA. When I mentioned to Jillian’s brother Westley if he was interested, Jillian overheard me, and declared that she wanted to run the kid’s marathon, too."
"I didn’t know how good of an idea this was, or if Jillian could finish such an event. But Jillian loved training at the track, and even though the day of the kid’s marathon was rain-sodden, she ran the entire mile on her own steam! While of course not of the same sublime scope as the Hoyt story, it’s our story, and astounding to think that some doctors said Jillian would never even walk while I am getting the opportunity to run with Team Hoyt."
Heather Ekola, age 34, is a super busy mom of 3 and a piano teacher. She ran half marathons for 10 years before she worked up the courage to take on a full marathon. In 2009 she ran her first full marathon and fell in love with that distance. Shortly after she made it her goal to run a marathon in every state. This year's Boston marathon will be her 10th marathon.
This past November she had a marathon PR of 4:06, and was right on track to run Boston in sub 4 hours. Less than 3 weeks later she was run over by a car while dropping her 8 year old off at school. With a crushed foot and knee/leg injuries, she decided the day of the accident that nothing was going to stop her from running the Boston marathon with her heroes Dick and Rick Hoyt.
In her mind, this setback was merely a brick wall separating her from her dream. And as Team Hoyt has taught her, brick walls are built to stop those who quit trying. A sub 4 marathon may not be in the cards for this years Boston, but Heather is just thrilled to be running...any distance.
Michael Davis -"I am legally blind. For most of my life I was not athletic. In fact, I had very bad experiences with sports until I started running with Team Hoyt Virginia Beach in 2009. I was bullied a lot going through school and I usually had no one to sit with in the school cafeteria because my classmates did not understand or want to deal with someone who was legally blind. At the age of 24, I ran my first half marathon with Team Hoyt VB in September of 2009!"
"Team Hoyt VB was the first team I've ever been a part of and it's the only team I really want to run for because they believed in me when I wasn't sure I believed in myself. Dick and Rick Hoyt's story touched my heart in ways that athletes without disabilities won't be able to understand as well as athletes who have disabilities. In all honesty, I can say that I feel just like Rick when I run and push another athlete with a disability. I feel like my disability disappears because its the rider athletes that we push that motivates me. Team Hoyt, unlike the rest of the world, really believes that people with disabilities can run marathons and triathlons. I am so honored to be running with Team Hoyt Boston and I just wanted to share my feelings about it."
"When my mom was pregnant with me an irresponsible driver crashed into her car in New York and skipped town. The car was totaled and I almost died. As a result of this accident I developed glaucoma and have had multiple surgeries on my eyes throughout elementary and middle school. I am legally blind and have had many challenges but my family and family friends have been very supportive. My mom Regina Davis and my grandmother Sara Royster who raised me have helped me to keep going. They have instilled in me the very spirit of Tem Hoyt, the very essence of YES YOU CAN!! I was the first legally blind grad from the Univ. of Richmond's college of Business with a degree in Accounting in 2007!"
"I recently got married in November of 2011 to my best friend Reneka Ross, who is also visually impaired. We dated for 9 years and wanted to get married sooner but we were unable to do that. The unemployment rate for people who are legally blind or visually impaired is 76 percent and that was before the recession. It took us a long time to get jobs. Even with my college degree from the Univ. of Richmond and her degree from Longwood University we were asked questions like how will you get to work or given your visual impairment how will you do your jobs? I am happy to report that we are both working now full time with the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth hospital in Portsmouth, Va. We both understand what people with disabilities go through and that has helped to strengthen our relationship."
Dana Krashin, originally from the Boston area, is a comedian/waitress living in NYC. She has been a semi-professional marathon spectator her entire life, and is beyond thrilled and honored to be running her first marathon with Team Hoyt. Heartbreak Hill better get mentally prepared to have Dana's little feet running all over it.
She is very thankful for her family, friends, and incredible teammates who remind her that YES YOU CAN everyday.
Joann Donnellan, 48, of the Washington, DC area, is a media/public relations consultant with her own firm, JD MEDIA, LLC. She qualified for Boston running the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011 with a PR of 3:53:23.
Qualifying for Boston has been a lifetime goal of hers.Since her 20's, she has only wanted to do three marathons: 1) DC Marine Corps-her hometown race 2) New York City-the largest marathon 3) Boston-the oldest annual marathon in the world. On Monday, April 15, 2013, she will accomplish her marathon trifecta! She will also carry on the tradition of dedicating her marathon to a worthy cause.
Joann is a lifelong lover and supporter of causes. She chose Team Hoyt as her charity of choice for Boston because as she says—“The Hoyt Foundation empowers children and adults with physical disabilities to believe anything is possible.
"Rick and Dick have spent more than 30 years proving to the world that people with physical challenges can reach their full potential and life goals with hard work and a strong belief in the possible. Their never-give-up spirit is a lesson for all of us. They are my inspiration along with those in my life who live with physical limitations. It is truly an honor to be running with Team Hoyt for their 31st Boston Marathon!"
Meredith Flanagan, 38 of Sayville, NY and living in the Boston/North Shore region of MA since 2005 is an LICSW and works as a Mental Health Clinician at Massgeneral for Children at the North Shore Medical Center in Salem MA. She also works as a visiting lecturer and BSW field Specialist at Salem State University, as well as serving on the Board of Directors at HAWC (Healing Abuse Working for Change).
Running has been a part of her life since age 20 and she is thrilled to be able to run with Team Hoyt in honor of her younger sister Amanda who has been her inspiration and “queen of hearts”.
Ron McCracken began his running journey the day after watching Frank Shorter win a gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon in Munich. Nearly 100, 000 miles later, "Running Ron" has completed 25 marathons, including the last eleven Bostons. He owns a. 2:51 PR, but considers his 3:10:10 in the Boston inferno of 2004 one of his greatest performances.
Ron has won national, state, and local awards for his writing on a diverse array of topics, including science, sports, music, and politics. Now living near the shores of White Rock Lake in Dallas, Ron's running streak will reach 13 years on July 10. A New Jersey native, he plans to move to New York City or Boston in the next two years with his awesome dog Pretty Girl, a red pit bull he rescued from fighting and rehabbed with love. Ron's long-term goal is to break John A. Kelley's record of 58 Boston finishes, just to prove that anything is possible when you believe in yourself.
This will be his 13th straight Boston and 28th official marathon. Just passed 5,000 days on his running streak and will reach 14 years in July. He is also very close to passing 100,000 career miles according to his calculations.
Robert LaPointe, from Spencer, MA has 7 months until retirement with the Connecticut Department of Corrections. After retirement, he plans on working in the running/health and fitness industry as its a passion of his.
"This is my first Boston marathon after watching and admiring it for years. I've also run New York, Chicago and Disney over the last 17 months. I have goal to run this in a PR time of 3:50 or better."
"I've been running for almost six years and have run in many races ranging from 5k's to the marathon. I have 2 sons, Ben 11 and Braeden 6 that are very active in sports and will be at the finish line in Boston. Besides running I enjoy golf, reading, watching my kid sports, traveling and any warm beach."
The balance of the Team Hoyt Marathon Team is made up of:
- Kristen Alcorn
- Margaret Randolph
- Rob LaPointe
Todd Civin is a Senior writer for Bleacher Report and the Team Hoyt Social Media Director. He is owner and CEO of Civin Media Relations and co-author of the books, One Letter at a Time, with Rick Hoyt and Destined to Run with Wes Harding.