ROANOKE, Va. – The Blue Ridge Marathon is a tradition for some people, including Sergeant Perry Hodge.
The beloved Pulaski County school resource officer was killed in January.
But Hodge loved to race in the big marathon every year.
This year, a new face took his place.
On January 14, Sgt. Perry Hodge died from a head-on car crash on Route 11 near Dublin.
But his spirit is not forgotten as his 22-year-old nephew, Dylan Moore, ran his first half marathon on Hodges’ behalf.
Training immediately after Hodges’ death, Moore said every day he developed a closer connection to his uncle.
“I couldn’t think of a better reason to honor him,” Moore said. “You know honor a man who lived his life being selfless, working hard then putting myself through hardship.”
With a bell in hand, Dublin Police Chief Dennis Lambert cheered for all the runners as he reflected on all the times he raced with Hodge.
Lambert said Hodge was competitive and every year tried to beat his race time.
Hodge’s wife, Lisa, said Hodge would run at least 26 miles every week and was always an early riser for the Blue Ridge Marathon.
Wearing shirts in his honor Saturday, Lisa said she is thankful for Dylan and other community members who have shown support.
“It means so much to us,” Lisa said. “His family, his grandkids, every day. It’s been a hard three months. But it’s just really awesome that they are all just doing this.”