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Running in his dad’s memory

Any struggle Richmond resident Charles Via may encounter during the many road races he runs pales in comparison to the battle his father, Charles Via Sr. fought while warding off cancer.

The dreaded disease finally took the elder Via away from this world to a better one, but the son has found a way to honor his father’s memory.

A sport born of passion has become a vehicle to keep memories of his dad alive, Charles Via Jr. said after completing the Halifax County-South Boston YMCA 5K on Saturday.

Memories of his father “keep him going,” Via admitted after crossing the finish line.

“My dad passed away with bladder cancer, and I run in honor and memory of my dad,” said Via, who has run the YMCA 5K each year since its inception.

He’s also run in road races for almost 20 years, and like many runners has developed a love for the sport born of previous experience.

Via ran for the cross country team at Monacan High School near Richmond, and he later traveled across the country to run for Washington State University.

He hasn’t slowed down since, and he gives a lot of credit for his drive and motivation to his high school cross country coach.

“He was my guardian angel, and he told me if I wanted to be part of something I would have to put in a whole lot of hard work,” Via remarked.

That hard work continues to be rewarded, and Via continues to run.