And they were off Sunday, one foot in front of the other, all for 22-year-old Patrick Morales, the star of the show at Norwich University.
"All the emotions running through my head, just seeing him back then and all the doctors saying he's not going to make it, he's not going to make it," said friend Kyle Edson.
Doctors didn't think Morales would survive a suicide attempt 16 months ago. The tragic death of a close college classmate during his freshman year at Norwich sent him into a deep depression. He tried to hang himself, and instead was left with a severe brain injury. Once an accomplished athlete at Northfield High School, he could no longer talk, walk, or see. Doctors had little hope.
"I think his mental psyche took a dramatic turn. It's hard to really fathom that Patrick would think of such a thing, but with mental illness you don't know when or how it can occur in a person's mind. So it was shocking. I broke down when I got the call. It was just heart wrenching," said friend Dylan Otis.
But Patrick fought back and has persevered. He not only can walk and talk again, he can see, too. His will to recover has inspired those around him who organized this combination Zumbathon and Race for Recovery, to raise money for his continued therapy. But what's with the wigs?
"Pat grew out a from a few years ago and he cut it. Now he's growing it back out so everybody on the committee for this race has a fro. So I'm wearing mine proudly," said friend Chelsea Dion.
A show of support not lost on Patrick Morales.
"I'd just like to say thank you to everyone that has supported me along my journey, and thank you to God who has helped me along the way," Morales said.
The goal for organizers was to raise $5-thousand dollars for Patrick.
"I want to eventually be able to run and try to run in a marathon," he said.
A lofty goal, but he's well on his way. One small step at a time.