Charlottesville is home to a large, thriving running community, but even in such a town, Philip Weber’s passion for running was unique. Generations of townspeople and students have stories of seeing him outside at (or before) the crack of dawn, regardless of the weather, sporting his signature shirtless look (again, regardless of the weather.) The mileage he logged (100 miles a week for 35 years) was the sort of mileage that professional runners would be proud of. He was, to quote a neighbor, a “moving fixture of Charlottesville.” When he wasn’t running, he could often be found at branches of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
There was an outpouring of emotion when Mr. Weber was killed while out on a morning run on December 29, 2015. A spontaneous memorial went up at the site of the accident. A sign with The Running Man’s lifespan was affixed to a nearby stop sign, and dozens of running shoes were tied around the signpost. Eulogies and stories of his life filled both traditional and social media. The legend of “The Running Man” was such that an obituary appeared as far away as The Daily Mail in the UK.
Members of Paavo’s Apostles, Champion Brewing Company’s weekly running club, moved both by The Running Man’s death and the community’s reaction to it, have decided to organize a charity 8K road race as a memorial to Mr. Weber. After getting in touch with Mr. Weber’s surviving family and discussing where they thought Mr. Weber would want funds from a race in his name to go, they are pleased to announce that The Running Man Memorial 8K will benefit the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
Library Director John Halliday said, “We really miss seeing Mr. Weber at the library. Proceeds we receive from the memorial run will be used to purchase new books.”
Weber was an enthusiastic reader and he had a passion for learning. Long after graduating from UVA he continued his learning by reading books about subjects that ranged from his college studies (architecture, chemistry & music) to horticulture, medicine, computer science and foreign languages. The Weber family wants to make sure that the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library can continue to provide services to the public and be the inspiration to others that it was for Philip.
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library serves Albemarle, Charlottesville, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson. The past year has been the busiest in the library’s history in terms of the number of books checked out.