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Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon continues successful run

March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

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Lauren Miller
Moxley Carmichael

Jason Altman
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
Executive Director


The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon race weekend, set for Saturday and Sunday, April 2-3, continues its reign as the largest competitive road race in East Tennessee and for the second year was selected as the RRCA Championship Race for the state of Tennessee.

The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon includes six race events: 26.2-mile marathon for runners, handcyclists and push-rim wheelchairs; 13.1-mile half marathon; 3.1-mile 5K run; four-person and two-person marathon relays; and one-mile Covenant Kids Run. This year, the 5K race moves to Saturday evening, following the Covenant Kids Run. Also new this year, 5K participants will receive race medals.

From left, Covenant Health's Jim VanderSteeg and Tony Spezia; Mayor Madeline Rogero, race director Jason Altman and Missy Kane of WBIR meet the press Tuesday to officially kick off the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

From left, Covenant Health’s Jim VanderSteeg and Tony Spezia; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; race director Jason Altman; and Missy Kane of WBIR-TV meet the media to officially kick off the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

“The energy surrounding race weekend is incredible, and we have every expectation that this year’s events will be the best ever,” said Jason Altman, executive director, Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. “We’re excited to have a record number of runners registered and thankful for the approximately 1,200 volunteers who donate their time and energy to make this event one that gets bigger and better every year and makes Knoxville shine.”

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero shares Altman’s enthusiasm.

“As the city celebrates its 225th anniversary in 2016, we also celebrate the 12th year of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon,” Rogero said. “The marathon is a marvelous event for the city – both for our personal health and the health of our economy.

“As our city becomes increasingly known as a tourist destination, this event brings runners and their families from all over the Southeast, across the country and even around the world to Knoxville, Tennessee. We’re fortunate to have this opportunity to showcase what a vibrant, desirable and hospitable city Knoxville truly is.”

Since the first marathon race in Knoxville in 2005, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon has grown in size and impact. The weekend of events for children, adults and people with disabilities promotes health and fitness, while also raising funds that benefit outstanding nonprofit programs, including Covenant Health’s Innovative Recreation Cooperative at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.

This year, race officials expect more than 8,000 participants in the various race events – another record-breaking registration figure for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

The races begin on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct. The route continues throughout many notable Knoxville neighborhoods and ends on the 50-yard-line of Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee. As they cross the finish line, runners can watch themselves on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for being part of this momentous event,” said Tony Spezia, president and CEO of Covenant Health. “Each year as I fire the starting gun to get the competition underway, I feel a tremendous amount of pride and excitement to be involved in something that so positively impacts our community.

“As the largest health system in East Tennessee, Covenant Health is committed to making sure the marathon promotes good health and physical activity in our community, and we are very proud of its impact. That’s why we’ve signed on to three more years as the sponsor, and we’re excited to be returning in 2017, 2018 and 2019.”

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Events and Information

Online registration closed Monday, March 28. Registration for all events, including the Covenant Kids Run, is available only at the Knoxville Convention & Exhibition Center on Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for the Kids Run and 5K and until 8 p.m. for the other races (except for the two- and four-person marathon relays), space permitting.

Covenant Health 5K and Covenant Health Kids Run
The Covenant Health 5K and one-mile Covenant Kids Run take place Saturday, April 2. The Kids Run starts at 5:30 p.m., and the 5K starts at 7 p.m. on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct, overlooking the World’s Fair Park. Both runs finish on the 50-yard-line in Neyland Stadium.

Start Times & Course
The races begin on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct and end on the field at Neyland Stadium. On Sunday, April 3, wheelchair and handcycle races start at 7:25 a.m.; and marathon, half-marathon and relay races start at 7:30 a.m. The course winds through some of Knoxville’s finest neighborhoods and features 24 live music stations along the route.

Health & Fitness Expo
The Health & Fitness Expo is open to the general public and will be held Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Exhibit Halls 1 and 2 of the Knoxville Convention & Exhibition Center. Inky Johnson, former University of Tennessee football player turned motivational speaker, will take the stage at 4 p.m. to share his story. Participants must attend to pick up their race day packets.

Pre-Race Pasta Dinner
Girls on the Run Knoxville will host the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon’s Pre-Race Pasta Dinner on Saturday, April 2, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown Knoxville. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Proceeds go toward scholarships for Girls on the Run participants. To register, please visit

Post-Race Party & Awards
The Pilot Flying J post-race parties will be held at Neyland Stadium outside Gate 21 immediately following the races. The 5K award ceremony will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. On Sunday, half-marathon awards will be presented at 11 a.m., and awards for the relays and marathon will be announced at 12:30 p.m. Cash prizes are awarded to the top finishers in the marathon, marathon push-rim wheelchair and handcycle divisions and half-marathon races.

Road Closures
Street and lane closures will occur throughout the center city and surrounding areas during race weekend, April 2-3. All streets are expected to be open by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information and a complete course overview, please visit

Fans and Spectators Viewing
Friends and family are encouraged to cheer for runners anywhere along the course, from the starting point on Clinch Avenue Viaduct to the finish line in Neyland Stadium. Fans are invited to support runners crossing the finish line by entering Neyland Stadium through Gate 21. 

Post-race Injury Clinics
Covenant Therapy Centers will offer free post-race Injury Clinics for runners who develop aches, pains, blisters, sprains or other medical concerns. Appointments are not required, and participants must simply bring a photo ID and their bib number to one of the clinic locations during the times specified below. For more information and directions, call 865-541-4500 or visit

Tuesday, April 5, 3-5 p.m., at Parkwest Therapy Center

Tuesday, April 5, 4-6 p.m., at Fort Sanders Therapy Center Downtown

Proceeds from the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon benefit both the Knoxville Track Club and the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center Innovative Recreation Cooperative, which encourages people with disabilities to pursue leisure and sports activities. In 2014, Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon introduced the Community Contribution Program, which utilizes marathon proceeds to award community grant funding to local programs working to make East Tennessee a healthier place to live. In 2015, the program presented more than $15,000 in healthy living grants to the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, The Muse Knoxville, Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville and Knoxville Recreational Therapy Program.

For more information, visit or call 865-684-4294.

About Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is a premier event organized by the Knoxville Track Club, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the encouragement of physical well being through running, jogging, competitive road racing, race-walking, fun runs, cross-country and track and field.

Maria Cornelius