People in Charlottesville, Virginia and surrounding Albemarle County areas are mourning the loss of a legendary local ‘Running Man’ named Phillip Weber.
Weber, recognized for long hours spent pounding the pavement and logging miles on local trails, was pronounced dead yesterday morning after being struck by a passing motorist during a routine run on Ivy Road.
Police say the investigation into the crash that killed Charlottesville’s beloved ‘Running Man’ is ongoing, but the driver who was operating the 2001 Isuzu Trooper that struck and ultimately killed Weber has not been charged. Heavy fog has been cited as a reason for the accident.
According to WVIR NBC29, Weber routinely logged as much as 5,000 miles a year and more than 125,000 miles during the course of his lifetime—a distance equivalent to five trips around the globe.
He lived alone in a residence along Jefferson Park Avenue, but his near constant running habit brought Weber local celebrity status.
“It’s ironic because Phillip was probably the most public runner in our local running world, but he had an intensely private personality,” said Mark Lorenzoni, owner of the Ragged Mountain Running shop, himself a well-known figure in the Charlottesville running community.
“Myself and others have been watching him run around the area for close to thirty years now. I’ve always been amazed not only by how much he was running, but by the weather conditions that he braved while logging his miles. There were days when it would be twenty degrees, and the ‘Running Man’ was out there in nothing but a pair of shorts.”
Billy Catron is Phillip Weber’s brother-in-law. He has been acting as the intermediary between Weber’s family and the media since the story of his death began to rock Charlotteville early Tuesday morning.
“Philip was largely a solitary man,” Catron said in an email to Blue Ridge Outdoors. “We as his family rarely saw him, but from all the emails and social media messages I have received, it seems that few people knew him well or knew him beyond his ‘Running Man’ persona.”
According to Lorenzoni it was Weber’s private nature that led to the running community’s fascination with him.
“He was probably Charlottesville’s most beloved and recognizable running figure, but no one really knew him personally,” he said. “We are all terribly saddened by the loss of the ‘Running Man’ and inspired by the amazing life he lived.”