Kelly's memory lives in race

Kelly Watt is gone, but he's clearly far from forgotten. The life of the 18-year-old runner who died last summer from heat stroke will be celebrated this weekend by a trio of races named in his honor at Panorama Farms.

"I know it would have meant a lot to Kelly to be remember this way," says his father, Paul. "That was a special place for Kelly– it really turned him on to running."

In the months since Watt's July 30 death– four days after collapsing at the end of a grueling practice run on a sweltering day– friends and colleagues have rallied to remember him.

A running shop donated a pair of shoes to a runner in the annual Ragged Mountain Cup. Students at Albemarle High sold "remembrance bracelets" during "honor week" dedicated to his memory, and even his summer employer, Clean Machine Car Wash, took donations for free car washes to benefit the scholarship fund set up in the young man's memory.

Part of the proceeds from this weekend's races will benefit the Kelly Watt Memorial Scholarship Fund that assists a deserving student from Albemarle High; part will go to maintain the course that Kelly loved.

Watt would have been a freshman at the College of William & Mary this fall. He collapsed July 26 near the end of a solo practice run on Ridge Road in the western part of the county.

The first Kelly Watt Open is a 3,200-meter competition to be run Saturday, November 19. There are heats for high school boys and high school girls as well as an open race.

For more information about the Kelly Watt Memorial Race, call 293-3367.

Kelly Watt