April 21, 2013- Knoxville, Tenn.- One characteristic often found in an athlete is passion—Passion to be strong and passion to succeed. Nicole Gross, a former swimmer from the University of Tennessee (class of 2003) had a passion for motivating others to be their best.

“Nicole was a team player. It was always about each person and getting each person to believe in themselves,” Raellen Simpson, a close friend and teammate said. “I have never met a person more driven to encourage others. To have this happen to such a self-less person is heart breaking.”

On Friday evening May 3rd, at World’s Fair Park, Revolution3 Glow Run 5k sponsored by Cardiovascular Research will donate all proceeds to Nicole and her family to aid in their recovery. The City of Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Athletic Department, and Revolution3 are collaborating for this cause. Knoxville gold medalist Davis Tarwater will be there to support the event and this local athlete.


“This event provides the Knoxville community an important opportunity to support one of its own, Nicole Gross, in her time of need while demonstrating that we stand united as Americans, to rebuke the cowardice of terror and to combat its evil with the goodness and power of the American spirit,” Tarwater said.  “Knoxville stands with Nicole, her husband Michael, her sister, Erika Brannock and all those injured in the Boston bombings.”

“Like everyone in the US, the Tennessee Athletics family has been shaken by the bombings in Boston, but it has hit home for us particularly because Michael and Nicole Gross are two of our own,” said Matt Kredich, head swim coach at University of Tennessee.

Nicole, her husband Michael, also a UT swimmer, and Erika were at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, awaiting their mother, who was about to finish.

“Nicole helped her mother to train, was her biggest supporter,” Simpson said. “Their family is very close and Nicole and her sister were their mom’s biggest fans. To them, their mom was almost a super hero.”

Nicole underwent her 7th surgery on Sunday, and has a long road ahead of her. Her sister has lost a portion of her lower leg.


“Nicole’s injuries are devastating, and she has a really tough road towards recovery ahead of her.  I’m sure she’ll draw on the strength she developed as an elite athlete as well as the support she’s developed because she was an incredible teammate,” Kredich said. “She needs more than that, however. The Knoxville community has a great opportunity with this 5K Glow Run to show our support for Nicole and her family, and to show that the Tennessee family extends far beyond the borders of Knoxville. I hope we have a fantastic turnout in honor of Nicole.”

Eric Bell, the local race director of the weekend’s events, saw this as an opportunity to immediately help this local family. The event starts at 8:30pm, with registration online until May 1st at and then onsite on May 3 starting at 3 pm.

“Triathlon is a tight knit community, and with this weekend’s races, we will showcase exactly what we can do when we come together, Bell said. “The city has been a huge asset to allowing us to take an already planned event and adjust it so quickly for this cause. I hope we can keep the passion for active lifestyle that Nicole was so involved in going strong here in Knoxville.”

“Nicole was a proud girl, proud of where she came from, proud to be a Lady Vol, and proud of her family,” Simpson said. “I want the community of Knoxville to show how proud we are of Nicole, to come out celebrate being fit, celebrate being active and help this family recover.”

If unable to attend the event, the family has set up a website, To help Nicole with her medical bills.


  • Events: REV3 Glow 5K Night Race & 1 Mile Fun Run
  • When: Friday, May 3rd 2013
  • Where: Worlds Fair Park, Knoxville, TN
  • Check-in: Friday, May 3, 2013 6:00 pm
  • Starts: Friday, May 3, 2013 8:20 pm
  • Ends: After the race we will have awards and our outdoor movie in World’s Fair Park.


  • 5K Glow Run – $40
  • 1 Mile Fun Run =  $20


  • Prizes will be awarded to top finishes in various age groups.
  • We will also have awards to brightest and most creative use of glow sticks.


  • Glow in the dark T-Shirt
  • Popcorn
  • Outdoor Movie Screen
  • Prizes and giveaways

Registration Closes:

  • Online – Wednesday, May 1, 2013
  • On-site race day registration is open at 3pm until 6pm