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A Class Act

Posted on December 20, 2019

Knox County Educators Train as Members of Covenant Health Marathon Team

With the next Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon set for March 28-29, 2020, many people will start the new year training to get ready for race events. But there are seven people in particular who might be able to teach the rest of us a thing or two.

Each year, Covenant Health and marathon organizers select a group of East Tennesseans to serve as ambassadors for health and fitness. This year’s team members all work for Knox County Schools.

The 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Team poses for a photo before training.

Members of the 2020 Covenant Health Marathon Team are:

  • Bill Baldwin, principal, Northwest Middle School
  • Lakiea Chapman, physical education teacher, Rocky Hill Elementary School
  • Ramona Dew, Knox County coordinated schools health specialist
  • Billy Heady, physical education teacher, Dogwood Elementary School
  • Ryan Ibbotson, physical education teacher, Ritta Elementary School
  • Andi Tenry, school counselor, Farragut High School
  • Michelle Wolfenbarger, principal, Adrian Burnett Elementary School

These educators have made a commitment to train together for race events. Most are setting a goal to complete 13.1 miles in the half marathon. It’s a challenging goal, but with their students rallying around them, they are sure to “make the grade.” To return the favor, the team will cheer on young runners and walkers taking part in the Covenant Kids Run on March 28.

For the Kids

Covenant Health Kids RunThe Covenant Kids Run is a program that helps children enter a “marathon” by completing 26 miles over the course of three months. Each child gets a mileage log to track progress, and every 30 minutes of active play can be counted as a one mile.

The kick-off for the Covenant Kids Run is at Zoo Knoxville on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020. The last mile is saved for a big race day at World’s Fair Park on March 28. Race day participants get medals and t-shirts, but families know the greater reward is a boost in health and fitness, with life lessons about how much fun it can be to get off the couch and get moving.

Intensive Training

Members of the Covenant Health Marathon Team are coached by Olympian Missy Kane, health promotions coordinator for Covenant Health. Their regimen also includes guidance from fitness professionals at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center and training sessions sponsored by Knoxville Track Club. The Track Club hosts Saturday morning sessions beginning in January that are free and open to the public. Runners and walkers from the Knoxville area come together to “go the distance,” increasing their mileage each week until the marathon weekend.

Missy Kane runs with the 2020 Marathon Team.

Teaming Up

Other participating Covenant Health Marathon Team members are representatives from Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon media sponsors: Todd Howell, WBIR-TV; Bob Yarborough, Cumulus Radio; and Phil Kaplan, Knoxville News Sentinel. David Neumer is team mentor. Neumer is a combat-wounded veteran and a member of the 2019 Covenant Health marathon team. He took first place in the marathon’s hand cycle division.

Click to learn more about the 2020 Covenant Health Marathon Team or the Covenant Kids Run.