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Well before the sun rises and the rest of East Tennessee awakes, Jennifer Singh and Robin Miller are already circling the track.

Combined, the two have seven marathons under their belt and are preparing for their next one: Boston 2014.

"Both nervous and excited," Singh said, when asked how she felt in the days ahead of the race.

Both women ran the Boston Marathon last year, and joined thousands of others who never got their post-race celebration.

About 20 minutes after they finished, they stood just around the corner when two bombs exploded near the finish line.

"We were pretty close together last year," Miller said.

Singh added, "Of course we heard it and felt it and didn't know what it was until a few minutes later until somebody looked at the news on their phone and we figured out what was going on."

No runners from East Tennessee were injured in the attack. All returned home within a few days.

Local police and federal authorities would later identify two people involved in the bombings, which killed three people and injured hundreds of others. The surviving suspect could face the death penalty if convicted.

The attack changed security procedures at races around the country, including the Boston marathon this year.

Still, Miller isn't concerned about safety.

"I think they did all they could last year, and they'll do all they can this year," she said.

Singh echoes that sentiment, and said last year's events were not going to prevent her from running one of the world's greatest races.

"You can't live your life being afraid of doing what you want to do," she said. "So my thinking is, I'm going to show up and I'm going to do the best I can and just try not to worry about the rest."

Fellow Knoxville runner Ethan Coffee plans to run the Boston Marathon this year, too. Although he did not go in 2013, the elite runner has competed in the race several times before. This year, he is running for a cause.

"I'm raising money for the 'Be Strong, Stay Strong' fund. It's a fund for a family that was injured in the bombings last year," Coffee said.

Coffee plans to run what he calls a "Double Boston" – 52.4 miles total. The money he raises will benefit Nicole Gross and her family. Gross is a UT grad who swam for the university while in school. She and her family were watching her mother run the marathon last year, and were injured in the blast.

"It's a small community and we all try to help each other out if we can," Coffee said.

Singh said she, too, will have her mind on others as she runs this year.

"You know, there [are] a lot of men and women who have given their time and their lives to fight the kind of incident that occurred last year, she said. "I'm doing it to honor them."

This year, the Boston Marathon is on April 21st, at 10 a.m.

If you'd like to donate to Ethan Coffee's cause,you can find more information at http://bostonmarathonx2.wordpress.com

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