To prioritize community health and safety, the 16th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon events are moving to a virtual format to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19 and allow runners to safely participate while achieving their personal goals in 2020.
“The move to a virtual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon event helps ensure the health and safety of our community, runners and volunteers,” said Jason Altman, race director of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. “Additionally, it’s our responsibility to follow local government mandates and regulations that do not make in-person events of this size feasible at this time. While we can’t run together in downtown Knoxville, we can take steps to prioritize health and fitness wherever we are and join together in spirit to continue this iconic event reimagined for current times.”
The virtual races will allow registrants to participate within a flexible time frame throughout the week of Nov. 7-15.
“Moving to a virtual race format will be a first for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon and the best way to move forward so the community can participate safely,” Covenant Health CEO Jim VanderSteeg said. “With every step, our runners, volunteers, sponsors and organizers have embraced necessary changes and offered creative solutions to enjoy this annual tradition. We appreciate the support and encourage everyone to stay healthy and keep moving. We’re looking forward to seeing how everyone finishes their race – regardless of when, where, how far or how fast – as long as you meet your personal goal.”
The virtual event will include the Covenant Kids Run, 5K, half marathon, marathon, and relay events, and participants will be able to upload their results via the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon website. In early November, the start line, mile markers and finish line for all courses will be painted. Registrants can use the markers to run the actual route during the 9-day virtual race period, or they can complete their run or walk at their preferred location, such as in a neighborhood, on a greenway trail or on a treadmill.
In addition to virtual training logs and custom digital race bibs, social media will be used to connect virtually, share photos, post personal records, and provide support and encouragement leading up to and during the 9-day event window. As additional details of the event are confirmed, updates will be posted to the race website at KnoxvilleMarathon.com.
Participants who already have registered for the 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon may participate in 2020 virtual event, defer their registration to the 2021 race (the date is not yet confirmed), receive a refund for the registration fee, or donate the registration fee to the Knoxville Track Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Race participants will receive more information via email regarding how to select an option.