The Collegian
Monday, October 02, 2023

Richmond alumnus runs Boston Marathon, unharmed by explosions

Richmond track and cross country alumnus Jeff Watson, who graduated in 2003, ran in Monday's Boston Marathon and was unharmed despite two explosions near the finish line that killed at least three people and injured hundreds more.

"It was pretty surreal," Watson said. "I had finished the race and already made it back to my hotel room, which was about four or five blocks from where the actual explosions were.

"So I didn't hear anything, didn't see anything, didn't know anything, until my brother called, and he had seen it on the news. So I really watched it on TV like everyone else even though I was there."

Watson has run the marathon every year since he graduated, he said, making this his 10th time. He usually goes with a group of friends and teammates from his days at UR.

"This year, there weren't as many," he said. "Just myself and one other alum that I know of ran -- Dan Kane, who graduated in [2004]."

Kane is also unharmed, Watson said.

Watson said the city was "pretty much a ghost town" the night of the explosions.

"I went out to grab a quick dinner and usually that's a big night -- people out celebrating after the race," he said. "This year, it was just a lot of police and state troopers and National Guard forces out walking around."

Watson traveled back to his home in Connecticut via AMTRAK on Tuesday morning.

"There were bomb-sniffing dogs," he said. "Definitely a lot more secure than it has been in regular circumstances."

The tragedy has not affected Watson's willingness to participate in next year's Boston Marathon, he said.

"You can give into fear, and you can let it dictate your life for you, or you can keep going, keep running, be more resolute in your determination to finish," he said. "I will definitely be there next year."

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