What do you run for? Maybe you run to stay healthy and fit. Maybe you want to head outside and blow off some steam. For most people, running is a self-serving activity. But for father and son pair, Rick and Dick Hoyt, running started as anything but selfish.

DICK’S Sporting Goods has put together a web series featuring inspirational runners, asking them why they hit sneaker to pavement day in and day out. Every runner has a reason. This installment lets us into the lives of Rick and Dick Hoyt, quite possibly one of the most emotive fitness inspirations ever.

Dick is 71, Rick is 51. The two have completed thousands of races together — ultramarathons, marathons, triathlons, 5ks. When he swims, Dick pulls his son along with him (by a vest attached to a small boat). On the road he rides with his son on a custom-made running chair, and pushes him on a specail two-seater bicycle. While other competitors focus on crossing one body over the finish line, it’s two for the Hoyts.

Rick was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth (as a result of oxygen deprivation to his brain). Paralyzed and unable to speak, Rick was destined to a life of limitations. An interactive computer allowed Rick to communicate with his parents and in 1977, Rick told his dad that he wanted to participate in a five mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who’d been paralyzed in an accident. Dick agreed, pushed Rick in his wheelchair, and finished the race (second-to-last). Though his feet never make contact with the ground, Rick told his father that when they ran together, he forgot about his handicap. And that was it for Dick.

Over one thousand races under their belt — including six Ironman competitions and running and biking 3,735 miles across the U.S. in 45 days — the Hoyts have outrun the odds, running for the people who can’t run.

Have you heard of Team Hoyt? What do you run for? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet the author @nicmdermott.

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