Hundreds of kids expected ‘run wild’ among dozens of wild animals to complete first mile of marathon

August 16, 2021

On your mark, get set, go register! Kids across East Tennessee are invited to participate in the Aug. 28 Covenant Kids Run kickoff race at Zoo Knoxville.

The one-mile fun run, part of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, starts at 8 a.m. and is the start of an extended challenge for children to complete a 26.2-mile marathon. The children will complete the last mile of their personal marathon together on Saturday, Oct. 2, when the Covenant Kids Run starts at 4:30 p.m. on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct near the Sunsphere, continues through the Fort Sanders neighborhood and ends back at World’s Fair Park.

The Aug. 28 event at Zoo Knoxville encourages children to make physical activity a regular part of their back-to-school schedule and daily lives – and shows them it can be fun.

“The Covenant Kids Run Kickoff is an exciting challenge for local children,” said Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Race Director Jason Altman. “Zoo Knoxville provides a beautiful backdrop for the event, and kids and their families can enjoy the exploring the zoo during and after the run.

“Families can sign up their kids today so they can make the first steps toward completing a personal marathon.”

Registration is open at Registration for the Aug. 28 kickoff race is $20 per child, and this fee also covers the child’s registration for the Oct. 2 Covenant Kids Run in downtown Knoxville. Admission to Zoo Knoxville is free for each child who registers for the fun run and one accompanying guest. Additional guests get half-price admission to the zoo.

Children in the eighth grade and younger can participate in the Covenant Kids Run. Each child who registers also can download the free mileage log to track 25 miles of walking, running or the exercise equivalent, such as 30 minutes of active playtime, leading up to the Oct. 2 finale during the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon race weekend.

Each child who participates in the Covenant Kids Run also will earn one point for his or her school in the Fittest School Challenge, a competition among area schools, presented by Dollywood. Schools register for the Covenant Kids Run and provide a total student enrollment count. The top five schools in the small school (fewer than 300 students) and large school (301+ students) categories with the highest percentage of student participation in the race win prize money and a Fittest School Challenge plaque.

For more information and to register for the Covenant Kids Run and all races, visit

About the 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 and walking.