East Tennessee man to run double Boston Marathon

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It's a day that many will never forget, including a Knoxville marathoner who once again has his eyes set on running the Boston Marathon. This time around, Ethan Coffey is running more than just 26.2 miles. He's doing double that.

Coffey started fundraising about a year ago, right after the Boston Marathon bombings. After learning that some of the victims had ties to the University of Tennessee he decided to help out by doing what he loves the most.

"Running 52 miles is something people would notice and maybe get a little more attention for fundraising purposes."

Coffey is running for three people he's never even met face-to-face.

“We've corresponded through Facebook and email. I got in touch with them because I wanted to raise money for a charity with some local roots and I found out that Nicole and Michael were UT students."

He's raising money for Nicole and Michael Gross, two former UT swimmers and Nicole's sister Erika Brannock - all three were injured during the bombings last year. On the day of the marathon this year, Coffey will run from finish line to start line and then back to the finish.

"I love running for one thing and this is what I can do to set myself apart and I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different, a little bit out there, that I could do well at and it gave me a goal to shoot for."

For the past year, Coffey has spent every day running, 9 to 10 times a week, mixing in doubles 2 to 3 times each week.

"My overall mileage maximum is around 120 miles per week."

His goal is to run both marathons in less than 6 hours, remembering to be strong, stay strong the whole way through.

As of Monday, Coffey has raised nearly $6,000. Some of the pledges are based on how fast he runs next week. He's hoping to meet Erika, Michael and Nicole in Boston for the first time.

To make a donation to Be Strong Stay Strong, head to Coffey's blog bostonmarathonx2.wordpress.com.

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