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It seems crazy that the first time that I heard the names Rick and Dick Hoyt was 5 years ago. I vividly remember sitting on my dorm room bed (furnished with the requisite Ikea bedding) with my best friend and roommate, Marissa, who was also my cross country team mate at Pepperdine University. Her dad, a serious runner, sent us the "Imagine" video that has been widely circulated on the Internet. A fly on the wall would have seen two girls whose comfortable worlds had just been rocked. We were both overwhelmed, I think, by the fact that our ability to be physically active is a gift, and one that can be fleeting. My next thought was that if I were unable to be physically active, I think it would be tremendously difficult not to become bitter.
And yet we sat there and watched Dick and Rick conquer these incredible challenges set before them with enthusiasm and dedication rarely seen in elite athletes. At the risk of being dramatic, watching that video was a defining moment for me in terms of how I came to think about our ability to be physically active. It is a gift, and one that we should use and exhibit with joy! After Marissa and I had gotten over the impact of the video, we laced up our shoes and went for a run--it just seemed appropriate to go out and celebrate the joy we both find in running.
Now, let's be honest. I know that some people would rather have a root canal than run a mile, but I'd take 26 miles over a root canal any day. I have had the blessing of running with Rick and Dick in the last 3 Boston Marathons, and this year marks their final run. I've made it my small, but worthy mission, to share the Hoyt's story with everyone I come across in hopes that we can celebrate our unique gifts together, include handicapped people in everyday life, and unite in the pursuit of a common journey--to finish our own race, whether that is in Asics, in a specially designed racing wheelchair, or on some other path marked by its own unique peaks and valleys. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Rick and Dick and the rest of Team Hoyt's Boston marathon team as they have not only changed my perspective on the world, but they've given hope and light to so many thousands of people over the many years that they've been racing.
I'm so thankful for friends and family that have supported me in my fundraising for the Hoyts over the last four years, and I want to ask you now to congratulate Rick and Dick with me on an incredible journey, give if you are able to their wonderful foundation, and thank them for the inspiration that their story gives, and will continue to give others.