The Boston Marathon race director cashes in his chance to run a race pushing Rick Hoyt.
When Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray turned 60 last summer, the legendary father and son racing duo of Dick and Rick Hoyt presented their longtime friend with a unique gift certificate.
It read, “This certificate entitles Dave McGillivray to take part in a 5K race or training run, pushing Rick Hoyt in his running chair, at a time convenient for both of you. Happy Birthday, Dave, and thank you for your friendship and support over the years.”
McGillivray cashed in his gift Friday when he pushed Rick Hoyt at the Finish at the 50 race. (The event finishes at the 50 yard line at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.) Though the two had intended to do the full 10K race, those pushing wheelchairs could not go on the stadium's ramps, so they raced a modified 5.1-mile course.
“I waited 30 years to do this and finally got my chance," McGillivray wrote in an email to Runner’s World Newswire. “It was everything I ever imagined and more…a thrill of a lifetime.”
Dick Hoyt, who was unable to attend the race, said Rick Hoyt enjoyed the experience as much as McGillivray.
“The crowds all knew that he was coming with Dave, so they were all cheering him on,” Dick Hoyt told Newswire. “Rick’s always got a big smile on his face. It was great, and I felt happy for Dave and Rick.”
Dick and Rick Hoyt began running races together in 1977 when Rick Hoyt, who was born with cerebral palsy, told his father that he wanted to participate in a race to benefit a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Following the race, Rick Hoyt, then 15, told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped." That was the catalyst for what would become an epic racing career.
The Hoyts have an ongoing joke that every time they’ve raced together, Rick Hoyt had beaten Dick Hoyt across the finish line. McGillivray joked on Facebook leading up to the event that he was going to put an end to Rick Hoyt's winning streak. So as the pair approached the finish line on Friday night, McGillivray ran around Rick Hoyt's chair and pretended he was going to finish ahead of him before returning back and pushing him across the finish line. (See the video below, courtesy of Dave McGillivray.)
The Hoyts and McGillivray have known one another for about 30 years, and the three are regarded for their feats of extreme endurance. McGillivray ran across the United States in 1978, raising money for the Jimmy Fund. The Hoyts ran and biked across the country in 1992, completed the Boston Marathon together 32 times, and have finished six Ironman triathlons. McGillivray has run the Boston Marathon 43 consecutive times, though since he became race director he completes it after everyone else has finished.
Dick Hoyt, 75, has retired from doing Ironman triathlons and marathons. Family friend Brian Lyons pushed Rick Hoyt through April’s Boston Marathon and the Patriot Half Triathlon—a half ironman—in June.
Dick Hoyt will continue to push Rick Hoyt in shorter events. Next up for the duo is the Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon in Ireland on July 25. Rick Hoyt will likely participate in the 26.2 mile race with a team of people, including his father, pushing him relay-style. The Hoyts also intend to maintain their streak at the Falmouth Road Race, which currently stands at 35 consecutive years for the duo.
As for McGillivray, he said he hopes to have the chance to push Rick Hoyt in a race again.
“My next ‘goal’ is to push Rick up Mount Washington someday,” wrote McGillivray. “I’ll need to really get in shape for that one, though!”