Race for Chas set this weekend

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A 5K and 8K event will take place in Suffolk this weekend.

The Sunday events support The Chas Foundation, which seeks to advocate for those with mental illness. It was started by Tucker Corprew, who lost her son, Charles H. “Chas” Kirkwood, to suicide after he struggled for years with bipolar disorder and psychosis.

It took 10 years for the doctors to diagnose her son with mental illness, said Corprew, president of the foundation. “That’s part of the problem with mental illness,” she added.

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Mark Lawson, local physician and race director, said many families struggle to get adequate care for their loved ones. Oftentimes they aren’t provided necessary information or on how to cope with it, he added.

Many of the organization’s board members have known family members to struggle with mental illness, Lawson said. Part of the goal of The Chas Foundation is to help others struggling with similar situations figure out how to deal with the current health care system, said Corprew.

Lawson said the organization aims to help raise awareness and money for mental illness, as well as work to improve laws to promote better care.

The Chas Foundation office is located in Norfolk, but organizers decided to hold the event in Suffolk.

“We want to start expanding to different regions in Tidewater,” Lawson said.

Over the years, they have held golf tournaments and charity auctions in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. But along with the fact that one of Lawson’s passions is running, holding a race allows them to gain some exposure among a different crowd of people, Corprew said.

“It should be a nice, scenic race,” Lawson said. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and it starts at Towne Bank University, located at 6009 Harbour View Blvd. The run will go through the neighborhood behind the building, allowing participants to run along the lake and the James River, he said.

At the race, there will be a winner within each age group. Participants can run in the 8K, or choose to either run or walk in the 5K. There is a $30 registration fee. Registration can be completed online at www.thechasfoundation.org or in person at the event starting at 6:30 a.m.