Dozens of UVA faculty, students, staff and alumni were at the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line in April, but all were reported safe, if shaken.

They included Pete Watson, UVA head men's cross-country coach, who was about 200 yards beyond the finish line, celebrating his brother's earlier 11th-place finish, when the first bomb exploded.

"Two huge thunderlike sounds and everyone went silent," Watson told the Daily Progress. "As soon as we heard the sounds, we knew something was not right. Then we could see police rushing down the street toward the finish line."

Alumnus Colin Peddie talks to a Boston police officer outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where President Barack Obama spoke at an interfaith service three days after the Boston Marathon. Taylor Walker
The first bomb exploded in front of Marathon Sports, part of a small chain of running shoe stores in the Boston area owned by UVA alumnus Colin Peddie (Educ '86), who was an All-American cross-country runner at Virginia.

"I was driving home on the [Massachusetts Turnpike] and turned on the radio to hear how the Red Sox did," Peddie told Runner's World magazine. "They cut to a story that there'd been an explosion at Marathon Sports. I put the car in overdrive. I needed to get as close as I could as fast as I could."

The magazine reported that Peddie had been at the store earlier that day and had left about a half hour before the bomb went off to spend time with his son. There were about a dozen workers in the store at the time, and several of them were injured in the blast, none seriously.

"Our staff was very much involved in the recovery efforts," he said. "It was a war zone, with our staff pulling people into the store and doing triage on them." One employee used his belt as a tourniquet on the arm of a woman injured in the blast. "The doctors at the hospital say that saved this woman's arm," Peddie said.

Mark Hampton, an associate dean at the Curry School of Education, finished the race about an hour before the bombs went off, and reported shortly after the explosions that he and three other professors were safe.

Mark Lorenzoni, owner of Ragged Mountain Running Shop on the Corner, attended the race to help coach a group of some 30 local runners, including some UVA alumni. One member of his contingent was in the stands across the street from the explosion, but was not injured. "He could feel the pressure [from the explosion]against his chest," Lorenzoni said.

Brittany Altomare, who grew up near Boston, dedicated her victory in the ACC Women’s Golf Championship to victims of the Marathon bombing. Jim Daves
The weekend after the bombings, and just two days after the ensuing manhunt for the suspects ended, fourth-year student Brittany Altomare (Col '13), a native of Shrewsbury, Mass., which is located about 40 miles west of Boston, fought to concentrate during the ACC Women's Golf Individual Championship in North Carolina.

"Honestly, I wanted to be home," Altomare said. She played the championship with a Boston Red Sox bracelet around her left wrist. "I felt helpless, like I could not do anything. I just sat back and kept watching it all happen."

But the three-time All-American, who had been working with the athletics department's sports psychologist Jim Bauman to improve her concentration during the season, was able to stay focused enough: She became the first player in the Cavalier program's history to win the championship and was later named the 2013 ACC Women's Golfer of the Year.

"It meant a lot for me to play good golf," she said. "This definitely goes out to everyone back home."