With the sound of a horn, thousands of balloons tagged with those being honored were released into the air and Sherry's Run began.
Some were running for family members, some for friends.
The event started nine years ago in honor of Sherry Whitaker, who lost her battle with colon cancer.
More than 3,800 people pounded the pavement Saturday morning in Wilson County.
With more than 100 teams, a rainbow of shirts filled the streets. Some were there in memory of loved ones and others in honor of them.
Some survivors still battling the disease were running to show they could not be held back by anything.
Most of the participants had a personal connection to the run. One woman in particular was diagnosed with cancer when she was 14 and said Sherry's Run helped her and her family through treatment.
While the event helps cancer patients in Wilson County, it was also created to inspire.
And inspire it did for seven-year-old Alex Johnson who has a rare skeletal dysplasia that affects his bones.
With a grin that stretched across his face, Alex led the pack. His coach, Greg Armstrong, pushed him the first three miles while Alex raced the final feet of the route despite the pain in his joints.
Alex said it didn't hurt because of the two most important things that he, along with everyone else at the run, believes in.
“Never complain and never give up,” Alex said.
Alex went 43 yards, his furthest yet since training. He said he would like to do another race soon.
In 2011, donations to Sherry's Run provided over $256,000 and 7,800 volunteer hours.
Read more at SherrysRun.org.
- Sept. 6, 2012: Boy with skeletal disorder prepares for Sherry's Run
- July 31, 2012: Mt. Juliet teen rebounds from breast cancer