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Team Hoyt honored with Jimmy V Perseverance Award at ESPYs

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  July 17, 2013 11:48 PM

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Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father-son team that has run 31 Boston Marathons together, was honored with one of the most prestigious honors at the ESPY Awards Wednesday at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Team Hoyt received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named in honor of the late North Carolina State men's basketball coach, Jim Valvano.

"Thirty-seven years ago, no one would even talk to us, but because my Dad said yes when I asked him to push me in the first race, and my family, especially my brothers Rob and Russ, have always stood by us and helped us persevere, even with so many people telling us we did not belong, we are here," said Rick Hoyt, who has cerebral palsy and spoke via an electronic device. "It only proves the wisdom of Jimmy V's words: 'Don't give up, don't ever give up.'"

The award was presented by actor and Boston native Ben Affleck.

"As you might imagine, we are even more thrilled because the life motto of Team Hoyt which has inspired thousands of people around the world to better themselves through athletics and to not tolerate people with disabilities being denied the opportunity to participate in life is yes you can," Rick Hoyt said.

Valvano is famous for his impassioned speech about never giving up at the 1993 ESPYs as he battled cancer. Valvano died the same year, but his foundation continues the work he began.

"I don't think you could find two guys more proud to represent the city of Boston," Dick Hoyt said. "Next time you see someone in a wheelchair, or who can't talk, or walk, or they may talk or walk a little bit different, they are people too, and deserve to be able to live, learn, work, and play. Rick and I want to thank you all."

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