KNOXVILLE (WATE) – On Friday night, the Knoxville community joined together to run for two former UT swimmers injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Nicole Gross and her husband Michael were at the finish line when the bombs went off. Nicole suffered multiple compound leg fractures and is still in the hospital. Michael had third degree burns along with cuts and bruises to his head and face.
Rev3 hosted a Glow Run in their honor at World's Fair Park Friday to help raise money for their recovery. By the end of the night race officials said they raised $25,000.
Most of the 2,000 runners at the race don't know Nicole and Michael, but as runners, they were all touched by what happened in Boston.
But the race meant even more for Nicole's former teammates.
"We run for Nicole. We run for those who can't right now," said Pamela Hanson, a former teammate of Nicole's from the UT swim team.
The emotions were high as Hanson and a dozen other teammates pinned their race bibs to their UT swimming shirts, the same shirts they wore with Nicole 10 years ago.
"Once you're a Vol, a lady Vol, you're family, that is always there after and tonight shows that," Hanson said.
The proceeds from the race will go towards Nicole's recovery, but her teammates say her strength will get her through.
"Having that drive in her, as an athlete will help her get through it but yes it will be a hard road," said Raellen Simpson, another teammate.
Decked out in glow sticks, hundreds of runners ran tonight for Nicole, strangers and teammates alike.
"We've always, always cheered each other on, Nicole was always just the frontrunner, that cheerleader," Hanson recalled of their swimming years at UT.
As the former swimmers crossed the finish line, with Nicole in their heart, they cheer for Nicole and Michael on their race to recovery.
"Those are the strongest people you'll ever meet," Hason said. "They won't be the type to sit on the side lines; they'll be back, no matter how long it takes."