A little bit of kindness to start the week.
Today was the Boston Marathon, and as someone who participated on various levels (including running a couple of qualifiers and handing out water in the rain just before “heartbreak hill”), I always look forward to this day. Boston.com runs a series of stories about “why I’m running” and they are always heartfelt. (My reasons for running were much less altruistic and much more “about a guy” – hey whatever gets you off the couch).
This one was one of the best:
The legacy of Dick and Rick Hoyt is living on along this year’s 26.2-mile Boston Marathon route thanks to the drive and determination of two Massachusetts athletes.
Michael DiDonato and Kyle Brodeur never planned to run the Boston Marathon, but when you hear their story. It feels like this is their destiny.
“It’s one step at a time for me. That’s it,” DiDonato said.
That first step actually came more than a decade ago when, by happenstance, DiDonato met Dick Hoyt, the Boston Marathon legend who ran the race with his son, Rick, for 32 years.
“We have a manufacturing company, anything that he needed repaired for his chair or his bicycle, we could fix it. And a year later, he came into our shop and we built him a running chair, a new running chair for Rick,” DiDonato said.
One chair would become two when DiDonato met Brodeur’s mom, Lisa, a short time after he worked with the Hoyts. Brodeur was paralyzed in a car crash at the age of 10 and longed to have a sport he could take part in again.
“And so, of course, I overhear this, and I said, ‘Hey, I got an idea. We can build him a chair, and I’ll push him in one or two races, and it’ll give him a sport again,'” DiDonato said.
“The feeling of watching him do something was just so inspiring. And it just made me so happy as a mom to see my son happy,” Lisa Brodeur said.
After this team finished a few races, Dick Hoyt challenged DiDonato in a different way.
“Dick said, ‘You know there’s a huge need in the world for these.’ And so we started putting it out there,” he said.
That marked the start for Hoyt Running Chairs, made out of DiDonato’s family business, Southbridge Tool in Dudley.
“It’s a very small part of our business with the biggest impact,” he said.
DiDonato has now shipped Hoyt Running Chairs all around the world.
It’s certainly been life-changing for both runners on the DiDonato/Brodeur team, who’ve now logged hundreds of races around the country, including triathlons.
DiDonato said Brodeur has given him a gift.
“Purpose, strength,” he said. “Normally, his thing is thumbs up if everything is good. But when we hit a big hill and he hears me struggling, he puts his hand up … and as we get to the crest of the hill, he’ll slowly bring his fingers together. And when we get to the top of the hill, they close, and his thumb goes up and I’m able to make that crest and man, that’s energizing.”
The Boston Marathon is a race DiDonato didn’t think was attainable for him since he’s not a natural runner.
Which brings us back to Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick Hoyt always told DiDonato that the route from Hopkinton to Boston was in his future.
“‘Ah, you never know,’ he’d say. ‘You never know.’ And, here we are,” he said.
“We feel blessed. If it wasn’t for Dick and Rick, we wouldn’t have this sport. They started it,” Lisa Brodeur said.
“Dick and Rick’s slogan, ‘Yes You Can,’ you can accomplish anything you put your mind to,” DiDonato said.
DiDonato and Brodeur are running with the Dick and Rick Hoyt honorary bib, raising money for the Hoyt Foundation.
When they step off on Patriot’s Day, DiDonato knows Dick Hoyt, who died in 2021, will be rooting them on.
“It’s divine. I believe that. I have no question,” he said.
More on the legacy of Dick and Rick Hoyt: (scroll to end of article)
Love that this story got an unexpected happy ending. Murphy gets an eaglet!
Direct link here if you can’t see the embed
HumboldtBlue sent the next two:
Now THIS is the "how you met" story I love to see ♥️ pic.twitter.com/yu41lYUsss
— Ichigo Niggasake (@SomaKazima) April 16, 2023
I may have shared this one before, but as baseball hits its stride this spring, it was worth sharing again:
A man’s best friend to share your love of the game with. Can’t ask for anything better pic.twitter.com/nes5NdMskr
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) September 12, 2022
That’s a good start to the week. Share your good news in the comments!
This is a good news open thread
That eagle looks thoroughly pleased with the situation.
“Are you safe or out?” “Out.”
Dorothy A. Winsor
Nice post, TaMara
Some nice vids there TaMara.
That kid in a chair, getting to participate, be a part of something, that is everything. Everyone needs a bit of that, wouldn’t it be great if we all treated each other like Michael treats Kyle? Helped each other out in this thing called life? It makes things better when you help if you can and it’s really good for both sides. It is extremely amazing to push a chair in a marathon or triathlon but not everyone can do that, but the little things count as well. I was involved in these sports with my bicycle/triathlon store, I don’t have the lungs to do the events but I know many that did/do them. One of them was a full triathlon world race winner. More than once. One friend/customer went to Kona in the over 60 class. And she did very well. I tried training for triathlon, have the legs but not the lungs – just aren’t big enough – long story, but I understand the level it takes to do this. That level is everything ya got.
Mike in NC
Congratulations to Rep. George Santos of Long Island for winning the Boston Marathon!
Thanks for the stuff re: Dick and Rick Hoyt. I only saw them run once (in person), but …
… well, anyway, Dick’s love, devotion, and determination were just amazing.
Thanks, TaMara. I loved every one of these stories. That dog–the excitement in his stance, waiting for the ball. Too cute.
@Mike in NC: Excuse me while I go get a new keyboard.
I love ” how we met” stories, and kind of collect them. My favorite comes from a friend: He was a sky-diving instructor, she was a student. He tells it as ” I shoved her out of a plane, she landed in a swamp, I went in and rescued her, and the rest is history.” ❤️
Thank you for that story, TaMara and HB
So happy for Murphy!
Nice stories! I have a PhD student who started working me with in the past year. I know that he is a runner, but I didn’t realize how good/serious he is. Last week he told me he couldn’t make it to our usual meeting this week because he will be in Boston running the marathon! I was impressed.
@Dangerman: You and me both!😂😂😂
My parents live near the marathon route, and like to go walk a bit of it after the lead runners have passed. They always take their dog, who “is very confused about why people are sitting in his toilet” since that chunk of Beacon Street is also on their standard dog-walk route. I recommend that they don’t say as much to the spectators…
J R in WV
I think Murphy somehow always knew if he just kept trying hard enough, eventually he could hatch out a baby Eagle
And just look! He did!
The Hoyts lived in my town for a bit and Rick’s brother and I were on the swim team together, way back in the late 70’s. Rick was everywhere his brother was. The whole family was at every swim meet. Dick and Rick started running around that time. Very inspiring.
A classmate of mine had had Polio but did well with physical therapy and was incredibly strong and well muscled even in eighth grade. He lost his legs in Vietnam but trained for and won the Boston Marathon in a wheelchair on a cold rainy day.
He became bitter at losing his legs, sadly, but he was a fighter several times and I hope he’s fought back again.
@MagdaInBlack: I loved Kenny and Kim!
@Ruckus: when I started running in 2017 (in my late 50s) I contemplated a marathon, even though I’m slow and old. Then I looked at a training schedule and thought HELL no. I’m still running but also still slow and even older. I do beer runs though, and I really like the camaraderie and friendliness.
Since this is a good news thread, I’ll make it official: I’m taking the Fresno job and will be moving to CA in July.
@Citizen Alan: Congratulations! Your California Starter Kit (three slices of avocado toast and a pre-written Housing Is Expensive rant) is in the mail now.
Congratulations! 🥂 I think you made a good decision.
@Citizen Alan: Good move; the South and your drama queen sister will look good in the rear view mirror. You might find you prefer a much less humid climate! Congratulations on the new job.
A co-worker of mine ran Boston today. She’s 52 and ran it last year in 3:34. Her results for this year aren’t posted yet. She and her family were in Antarctica a few weeks ago where she ran a marathon there. She’s done London and a few other big ones.
@Citizen Alan: Welcome!
I have a neighbor my age that had polio. She lives in a wheelchair because one leg is just there for show and the good leg can not support her, but can help with the wheelchair a bit. She had a good mid life, has kids, grand kids and great grand kids. Life is what you make of it, all the shit that happens is just that. I spent all of Saturday in the VA hospital with my balance screwed up, my head spinning at about 60 rpm – at least that what it felt like, threw up 4 times in about an hour, and then again once on Sunday. I’ve eaten about 600 calories since Friday night, about 200 of them 10 minutes ago. On the bright side I’ve lost 2+ lbs. Life can be tough any time for anyone but getting up into the old fart age range is a new kind of experience. And I’ve had my share over the decades. At least people think I’m about 10 yrs younger than I actually am. Always look for the bright side of life. One bit of fun was that after the 45 minute MRI brain scan they told me they couldn’t find anything. Talk about stating the obvious…..
I hope you get better and they can figure out what’s going on.
I’m OK-ish now and should be OK, there is a fix that requires a bit of time an a position exercise that is a bit weird and a med that I now have for the nausea, which goes away as the position works. It is a somewhat rare issue which the exercise fixes. I just always remember that if life was easy, anyone could do it.
AM in NC
@Ruckus: My mom developed Meuniere’s Disease at age 78 and the dizziness and nausea were not fun. An ENT doc was key to diagnosis and treatment. Hope you find a good one where you are because it can make a world of difference. Hope you get this figured out, and glad no brain tumor!
@Citizen Alan: congratulations!