History of the Robert “Doc” Lopez & Run for Health (Hope) by Susie Lopez Allott
Fifty two men and women representing the 50 states and District of Columbia and Lake Placid were chosen to carry the Olympic Torch from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, to the opening ceremonies in Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Robert Lopez (Doc) age 56, of Westport, NY, a Lake Placid veterinarian, and the oldest runner selected, represented Lake Placid. Michael Luce of Glens Falls represented New York State. Doc started the Run for Hope, now known as the Doc Lopez Run for Health, in the spring of 1980. Doc ran and organized the Westport 24 hour marathon, the 8 mile Whiteface Mountain run, the 5 mile Frostbite run around Mirror Lake and the Sara-Placid Marathon from Paul Smith’s College to Lake Placid.
Doc completed the Boston and New York marathons several times, and ran marathons nationwide to reach his ultimate goal of 60 by age 60. He eventually surpassed this goal to run 65 marathons and fit in a 50 miler here and there. Doc became his own one man Polar Bear Club, taking the annual plunge through a hole cut in the ice in several northern lakes; including Lake George, Lake Champlain, Lake Flower, and Mirror Lake. Not a man of moderation in anything he did, Doc had fourteen children with his loving wife of 62 years, Marjorie Beha Lopez. His favorite sayings included “there is no such word as can’t” and “tell your mother you are not cold, not hungry and not tired”.