There's a certain mentality you have to have as an athlete. It's the "Never give up, never back down" kind of attitude.
The tragedy from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings hasn't changed that. In fact, for several East Tennessee runners, it's only enhanced it.
Jennifer Singh ran the Boston Marathon this year, and immediately knew she was coming back for 2014. "If we are scared to run marathons because of a bunch of thugs that decide to be violent, then they win. And I don't want them to win."
It's a sentiment shared by her coach Bobby Holcombe, who had retired from competitive racing. But after seeing the tragedy unfold first hand last April, he brought back out his sneakers.
Jonathan and Betsy Johnson also raced this year, and had no plans to run in 2014. They were focused on other marathons and triathlons. However, just moments after the bombings, they knew they were coming back.
"You go through so many emotions regarding something like this. You're crying. You're mad, or you're sad, and then you want to fight back."
It's that desire to fight, that's bringing The Johnsons, and Jennifer, and Bobby, and thousands more back to Broylston Street in 2014.