Christopher Watson ’92 began working with web technologies in the mid-1990s, starting a web-based health and wellness platform called Fitness Journal in 2004. Fitness Journal offers a full range of health and wellness tracking solutions for individuals, coaches, personal trainers, small business, large corporations and federal agencies, including The Marine Corps, The Department of Energy, The US Superior Court, Naval Strategic Command, The Environmental Protection Agency, The Federal Communications Commission and many more. It has allowed Chris to travel, train, and meet some of the most amazing athletes, coaches, doctors and health researchers in the world. He credits his time at The White Mountain School for giving him the drive, the interest, and the experience to take on this amazing career.
I was initially drawn to The White Mountain School because of the mix of traditional school studies with outdoor experiences. Classes and learning opportunities were not limited to the classrooms. We were encouraged to challenge ourselves and push our own limits. This applied as much in the classroom as it did scaling a granite face, skiing a hard run, or taking multi-day backpacking trips.
Small class sizes and passionate teachers made learning fun and exciting. Prior to WMS, all my educational experience had been in the public school system. Transitioning from public high school to The White Mountain School in New Hampshire was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I have so many great memories from my time at White Mountain, It would be impossible to even scratch the surface of my experience. That being said, I will share two personal stories that always bring a smile to my face.
I was a member of the WMS cycling team and put in many miles and hours of riding on the roads around school. I recall one weekend training ride in the spring I had plotted a century ride (100 miles) on a road map found in the library. The route included a “seasonal” road that connected two well-traveled routes. When I reached the halfway point and turned left on to this seasonal road, I quickly found out what “seasonal” really meant. Vast snow piles covered the road in various places. On a strict time schedule, I determined that I should just ride through the snow-covered road. How bad could it be? TWO HOURS later I was carrying my bike on my shoulders, walking through snow that was several feet deep in the middle of the woods! I had come too far to turn around, so I just kept on trudging. Luckily for me, the “seasonal” road soon was replaced with a maintained and plowed blacktop. I was forced to ride as fast as my legs could carry me to get back to school before dinner check in. I arrived with just moments to spare!
There was a cross-country meet held on the campus of WMS. I was not a member of the cross-country team, however the coach asked me to race, as the team was short a runner. I had logged some pretty decent training miles on my bike but almost no running miles. I sprinted down to solar dorm as fast as I could to find some running shoes and a WMS shirt. I arrived at the starting line just moments before the gun went off. I started at the very back of the field but quickly improved my position as we ran on the trails and roads surrounding the campus. Within a few short minutes I found that I was in lead. I ran as hard as I could that day – harder than I ever thought I could run. I was able to hold of the entire field except for one other racer who caught me within sight of the finish line. I crossed the line 2nd overall and 1st for White Mountain School.
To any current WMS students reading my story: Bask in this extraordinary time! Your White Mountain School experience will stay with you forever, but will also be gone in the blink of an eye.
Chris remains an active cyclist and triathlete, completing three Ironman events in two years (with plans to compete in Ironman Lake Tahoe this month!) and joining a four-man cycling team that took 1st place in the Race Across the West – a 860 mile, 24 hour a day race from Oceanside, CA to Durango, CO. Chris currently lives in Peterborough New Hampshire with his wife of 13 years, two adorable kids, and two golden retrievers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.