Photo by Max Foster-Baker
Members of Knoxville's tight-knit racing community gathered Monday evening for a candlelight vigil in honor of those injured or killed in Boston.
It wasn't a big group, just under 20 people, and it didn't last very long, but for people who came it offered a sense of community during the tragedy. The group prayed and offered a few words for their comrades in Boston.
One runner who went to the vigil said she knows people and the race in Boston, and just wanted to feel connected with her running community.
"We are always at races cheering each other on, running, or helping or giving out water or checking in with finish line, and so whenever something happens you just want to be around other runners," explained Camille Krumpton.
"I can't imagine being there. I've run dozens of races; never have I been through anything like that. I have no idea what they're dealing with so it really felt like this is the least we could do for the people there," said Mary Cates.
Update on East Tennessee runners
A former Lady Vol swimmer is among those reportedly injured. Nicole Gross now lives in Charlotte along with her husband, Michael, another former Vol swimmer. The NBC affiliate in Charlotte reports both did sustain injuries.
Petsafe CEO and owner of Boyd's Jig and Reel Randy Boyd of Knoxville ran the marathon. He told 10News he finished just a few minutes before the explosion. He said he was a couple hundred yards away when the explosions happened.
Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton cheered on his wife in Boston. The sheriff felt the blast, but his office says they're both doing fine.
Bobby Holcombe coached a group of runners from Knoxville. He said all local runners he was with are ok. He says they left the finish line five minutes before the explosion.
Jim Stringham of Maryville says he finished the race about 15 minutes before the explosions.
"When I heard the explosion I was maybe 400 feet from the hotel. I headed right back to the hotel," he said.
Stringham says he finished the race about 15 minutes faster than expected. He says he has received hundreds of texts, calls and Facebook messages, but cell service is hard to come by.
Paul Horton had just finished his face, too. He struggled to wade through the crows following the explosions.
"Numerous ambulances lined up, several wheelchairs empty... I could only get within 500 yards of the finish line," he said. They were running the opposite way and the police stopped me and I couldn't go any further."
Runner Jonathan Johnson expressed his sadness for the impact this tragedy had on the cheering crowds, something the runners count on to keep them motivated during the difficult course.
"For the entire 26 miles this whole community, our or five people deep, is cheering you on. At the finish you've got 10 people deep, right there just screaming their heads off. Just to think somebody would do something like that to all these innocent people is just awful," he said.
According to the Boston Marathon website, there were eight runners listed from Blount County, 15 from Knoxville, two from Greeneville, two from Oak Ridge, one from Jefferson City, and one from Harriman.
You can find out if a runner had finished the race or where they were at the last checkpoint before the explosion here.