Knoxville marathon growth spans a decade

Thousands of runners will stampede through Knoxville's streets Sunday morning. The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is going on it's 10th year and a lot has changed in a decade's time.

During its first year, it rounded up 3,000 participants. A decade later, nearly 10,000 people cross that 50 yard line in Neyland Stadium. A notable milestone in itself for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

It's bringing in runners of all kinds. Whether you want to give the 5K a try or even run a full marathon, the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon gives the opportunity.

The Knoxville Track Club runs this event and organizers have noticed a change over the years.

"It was very small the first year. It was a little over 3,000. And each year it has gotten a little bit bigger each year with more events and we have just grown," said organizer Kristy Altman.

The growing popularity of the 5-k and half marathon is key to this event's success.

"Our 5K has really taken off the last few years. People have gotten off the couch and have gotten in shape and are doing their first 5K with us. And of course the half marathon is very popular event. It's a good distance that people can train for without killing themselves," said Altman.

People cycled through the race expo on Saturday preparing for the big Sunday race.

It was an expo that now has a moon-bounce, music, and many racing necessities all around. Giving it a look the founders didn't even anticipate.

"I wanted it to be as good as something in the big cities. As far as the vision to having up to 10,000 people, yea, I had that vision, but some of the details and things we have done... no I didn't," said co-founder of the event Eddie Reymond.

Looking into the future... organizers like to keep things the same... with the idea of growth in mind.

"We have tried not to change things too much because so far it hasn't been broken. I mean everything has grown almost yearly," said Reymond.

"We have discussions around adding different events. Probably the biggest thing that will happen next year is we are likely going to have to have a course change. Because of the Cumberland Avenue Project," said Altman.

From an event that Just barely broke even, to a marathon that now seen profits year in and year out.

Not straying too far from the original plan.


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