It wasn’t until I went to college that I learned that Patriots’ Day is not a holiday outside of Massachusetts. Growing up in the state, I took it for granted that Patriots’ Day meant no school and either a pre-dawn wakeup to go see the reenactment at the Old North Bridge in Concord or a mid-morning trip to Heartbreak Hill to watch the runners enter the last leg of the marathon.
If we went to the marathon, we would usually get there early enough to see the leaders come through, and then as the race slowed down we would pass the time by throwing a frisbee or playing catch among the B.C. students and other onlookers. We would wait until the elite marathoners gave way to the better amateurs, and then ultimately leave soon after we saw the Hoyts pass by.
The Hoyts are a father-son team: the now 70 year-old Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, who is quadriplegic. For the past 33 years, Dick has pushed Rick in a specially-designed chair through the Boston Marathon, in addition to many other races and triathlons. Today Sports Illustrated has a lengthy profile of the two and their amazing running history. Not only does the story convey the magnitude of the Hoyts’ accomplishments, it also goes a long way toward explaining to those not lucky enough to have work or school off today what a significant part of the Patriots’ Day tradition the Hoyts have been for the past 30 years.