|(Written by Larry Meredith. Photos courtesy of Paul Berg , Val Sell, and Tori Meredith)
Alec ‘Doc’ Isabeau, September 7, 1961 – June 23, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of long-time club member Alec Isabeau. An Empire Runners Club member since 1986, Alec “Doc” Isabeau has been a major contributor to the growth and direction of this organization for more than 30 years. In the beginning years he was an enthusiastic ambassador who encouraged every local runner he met to join forces in promoting a fun and healthy lifestyle through running, among other things. Alec soon took on more responsibility in club matters, holding the title of Director of Publicity in 1988 and was chosen to be president in September of 1989, a position he held for more than 2 years.
In the early 1990’s Alec met Analy High School cross country coach Lisa Titus through running club activities and they were soon married. Both have been dependable volunteers at hundreds of club events and activities ever since and both loved competing on the Empire Runners cross country team every fall.
It was also in the early 1990s that Alec met new club member John “Mojo” Royston and in 1993 that pair, sensing that our brutal Annadel Loop 7-Mile trail race was too tame for like-minded pain addicts, introduced the Loop-de-Loop 14-Miler to our club race schedule. In a newsletter introduction titled What’s Twice as Fun as the Annadel Loop?, the selling point was as follows:
“Tired of the hum-drum jog around the neighborhood? Bored with all those monotonous, paved, TAC-certified races? Still whining that the Annadel Loop is too short, too flat, too easy?” They went on to warn that “the course will NOT be marked or monitored! . . . though it’s likely to be strewn with clothes and muddy shoes afterwards. All participants will receive prompt psychiatric counseling; survivors are invited to the Isabeau/Garcia house afterwards for coffee, bagels, bandages, etc.” The event was “brought to you without remorse by Doc n’ Mojo Productions,” the first mention of the now infamous collaborative efforts staged by these two hilarious cohorts. The race lives on: the 26th edition of the Loop-de-Loop will take place this November 4.
In 1995 Alec served a second term as president of the Empire Runners while Mojo served as a highly successful Membership Director. Mojo would eventually follow in Alec’s footsteps serving two separate terms as president. Doc and Mojo were not through with their hijinks in club-related matters. In 2003 they came up with the Sugarloaf Summer Solstice Sunset Relay, a unique event in that it began on a Friday evening on one of the longest days of the year and included a post-race BBQ and group campout for all entrants. The course was relatively short but, as could be expected, routed over the roughest and steepest sections of Sugarloaf State Park. It proved the mantra of Doc n’ Mojo Productions: “It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun!” The race eventually was moved to a Saturday morning event at Windsor’s Riverfront Park and included an elaborate post-race breakfast. Now the Riverfront Relay, the event is going on 16 years old.
A chiropractor by profession, Alec’s reputation as a remarkable healer of running-related injuries earned him the trust of hundreds of local runners over the years.
Alec battled cancer that began in his lungs more than 5 years ago. Lisa and his best friend, Mojo, were by his side as he appeared to be on his way to recovery. In a tragic example of how unfair and cruel life can sometimes be, Alec’s cancer reappeared and was more widespread this time. To make matters much worse, Mojo was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer last year and succumbed within a few months. Those of us who knew the two men and who have witnessed them struggle mightily in their final months were not surprised by their calm and courageous demeanor in facing their fate. We are left to question how two of the most health-conscious people we have ever known can be taken from us way too soon. We are left to wonder why two such pillars of our community were dealt such an unfair hand. We are left to try to emulate their love of life and take their advice to enjoy every minute you have on earth.