Knoxville ready to race during Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon weekend
New finish line at World’s Fair Park will provide post-race celebration site
The 15th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, Saturday-Sunday, March 30-31, features a full roster of weekend race and wellness events, as well as a highly anticipated new finish line for post-race celebration.
“The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is back and better than ever,” said Jason Altman, race director of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. “We’ve got the same beautiful course through our vibrant city, friendly volunteers and challenging race events, but now we have a new finish line in World’s Fair Park. We’re always inspired by the participants – young and old, athletes and amateurs, runners and walkers – who cross the finish line. Now we’re looking forward to celebrating them with friends and family at the Finish Line Festival. The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is not only the largest competitive road race in East Tennessee, it’s the iconic health and fitness event for our city, so it’s only fitting that we start at the Sunsphere and end in World’s Fair Park to celebrate.”
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.
The Covenant Kids Run and 5K take place the evening of Saturday, March 30, and the half marathon, relays and marathon races are held the morning of Sunday, March 31. Emily Ann Roberts, runner-up on season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, will perform the national anthem at the start line on Sunday morning.
“The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is a shining example of Knoxville’s abundant natural beauty, outdoor amenities and healthy activities that appeal to all generations,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Knoxville’s marathon is lauded as the best in Tennessee, and I agree. We’re honored to support this fun and inclusive event that is a major economic driver for our City, attracting participants from across the state and around the country. This premier event is always full of community spirit, and I encourage everyone to participate – as runners, volunteers or cheering spectators.”
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon was recently named best marathon in Tennessee by USA Today, and the 2019 races will feature new courses and a new finish line. All race events begin on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct adjacent to the Sunsphere, and the signature course continues throughout many notable Knoxville neighborhoods. The new finish line is in World’s Fair Park, where attendees can enjoy a festive after-party on the lawn with vendors, music, beer and food trucks. Award ceremonies for each race also will take place at the Finish Line Festival.
“We are committed to our mission to improve the quality of life through better health, and that’s why we’ve extended our title sponsorship of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon for three more years,” Covenant Health President and CEO Jim VanderSteeg said. “From the collective energy of the participants throughout race weekend to the funds raised for other health-focused community initiatives, we believe in the impact this event makes for so many in East Tennessee and beyond.Every year, Covenant Health also sponsors a team of race participants who serve as ambassadors for health and fitness while they train together under the guidance of Covenant Health coach Missy Kane. This year’s team features United States military veterans, who range in age and ability but all who have made sacrifices on behalf of their country as members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
Additionally, the keynote speaker at this year’s Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Health & Fitness Expo is a U.S. Marines veteran with an inspiring story. A war-wounded double amputee, Rob Jones completed 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 days. He speaks at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at the Expo, which is free and open to the public.
Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Events and Information
Online registration closed at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 25. At the Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday, last-chance registration will be available for the Kids Run and 5K from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 8 p.m. for the marathon and half marathon, space permitting.
Health & Fitness Expo
The Health & Fitness Expo is open to the general public and will be held Saturday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall. Participants must attend to pick up their race day packets. Rob Jones, a U.S. Marines veteran and double amputee who completed 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 days, will be the featured speaker at the Health & Fitness Expo at 3 p.m.
Start Times & Course
All races begin on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct, overlooking World’s Fair Park, and end back in World’s Fair Park. On Saturday, March 30, the one-mile Covenant Kids Run starts at 5:30 p.m., and the 5K starts at 7 p.m. On Sunday, March 31, wheelchair and handcycle races start at 7:23 a.m.; and marathon, half-marathon and relay races start at 7:30 a.m. The marathon course winds through some of Knoxville’s finest neighborhoods showcasing the city’s beauty, and features live music stations along the route.
Post-Race Party & Awards
The Pilot Flying J post-race parties will be held on the lawn at World’s Fair Park 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 10:30 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.
Street and lane closures will occur throughout the center city and surrounding areas during race weekend, March 30-31. All streets are expected to be open by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information and a complete course overview, please visit www.knoxvillemarathon.com.
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 new finish line in World’s Fair Park.
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 simply must bring a photo ID and their bib number. Clinics are offered Tuesday, April 2, from 3-5 p.m. at both Parkwest Therapy Center and Fort Sanders Therapy Center Downtown. For more information and directions, call 865-541-4500 or visit www.covenanthealth.com/therapycenters.
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 2018, the program donated $10,000 in grants to Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville, Knoxville Sled Bears, Bike Elf, Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge and PJ Parkinson’s. The marathon also donates extra supplies, food, clothing and more to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and Knox Area Rescue Ministries.
For more information, visit www.knoxvillemarathon.com 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.