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March 28, 2014

Jason Altman, Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Executive Director, 865-805-2476
Jennifer Lawson, Moxley Carmichael, 865-544-0088
Amy Styles, Covenant Health, 865-437-6599


When the starting gun goes off for events in the 10th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon this weekend, among the 8,000 child and adult participants will be athletes who compete despite amputations, birth defects, paralysis and limiting conditions such as arthritis.

A specialty relay team of five athletes from the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center’s Innovative Recreation Cooperative will complete the full marathon. The IRC, which is partially funded through proceeds from the marathon, helps those with disabilities participate in sports and recreational activities through adaptive equipment, such as handcycles, seated road racers, mono and bi-snow skis and water skis, and also educates them on how to use the equipment. The nationally acclaimed Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center is located at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, and both organizations are members of Covenant Health.

The relay team includes: Carly Pearson, handcycle; Mary Beth Cornwall, runner; Brian Penny, recumbent bike; Edee Vaughn, handcycle; and Sharon Stolberg, handcycle.

In addition, there are six other handcyclists registered to compete in the full and half marathon events on Sunday and one road (wheelchair) racer, Matthew Porterfield. He is a nationally recognized road racer who will “push” the 26.2 mile course. At the starting line for the Kids Run on Saturday evening, 8-year-old boys Ethan Roach and Tanner Adkins will lead the pack on the handcycles they learned to use at the IRC. Each sustained spinal injuries in auto accidents.

“The marathon is an opportunity for these athletes to shine – to demonstrate to themselves, other marathon participants and spectators that they can compete in sporting events and experience the enjoyment and fitness benefits just as others do,” said Al Kaye, clinical specialist at the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.

Visit for more information about the marathon’s weekend of events, including a health and fitness expo, fittest company and school competitions and six marathon race events. For information about IRC, visit


About Covenant Health

Covenant Health is a community-owned health system committed to its mission of “improving the quality of life through better health.” With headquarters in Knoxville, the system provides comprehensive services throughout East Tennessee. Covenant Health is the largest employer in the Knoxville area and has more than 10,000 employees, physicians and volunteers. The organization’s healthcare professionals deliver quality care to thousands of patients annually.


Maria Cornelius