By Emily Rome
Updated April 16, 2013 at 08:26 PM EDT
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Before yesterday’s Boston Marathon took a tragic turn when explosions near the finish line claimed the lives of at least three people and injured over 170 more, Matt Damon published an essay reminiscing about watching his father and his brother run the marathon.

The Massachusetts-born actor called the race “a sporting spectacle like no other, overwrought with nerves and excitement” in an excerpt of the essay, which was posted on the Boston Globe’s website on April 14, one day before the bombings in Boston. The full essay is in a book published earlier this month that marked the 125th anniversary of the Boston Athletic Association, which sponsors the marathon.

Damon called Boston a “sports town” and defended the city’s passion for its athletic teams. He went on to recall watching his father run the race with famed American runner Bill Rodgers when he was a child. and later watching his brother in the marathon “with me serving as water boy.”

“To this day both my father and brother have their bib numbers archived with their most prized possessions and describe their experiences as some of the most emotional moments of their lives,” Damon wrote.

Damon also noted in the essay that there would be runners in the 2013 race supporting his non-profit organization, No one from is reported to have been injured in the attack.

Following the bombings, Damon responded to the tragedy in a statement released to EW on Tuesday: “My heart goes out to the people of the city of Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones in such a senseless and heartless way.”

The Bourne Identity actor is among several celebrities who showed support for the victims of the explosions, many of them via Twitter, including Ben Affleck — a friend of Damon’s since childhood — who wrote, “Such a senseless and tragic day. My family and I send our love to our beloved and resilient Boston.”

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