Thousands of runners will be hitting the streets this weekend, March 29-30, for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.
This is the tenth year for the marathon, and organizers expect this to be the biggest turnout yet, with more than 8000 participants in the various events Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend will kick off with the one-mile Kids Run on Saturday, which is actually the culmination of an effort to help kids be more active and healthy. Over the past few months, participants have been running and logging their miles. When you add all that up with the final mile on Saturday, they will have run a the length of a marathon-26.2 miles.
The Kids Run will start at 6 pm at the Clinch Avenue Bridge, which is the same start line as the Sunday marathon. The course will head west on Clinch Avenue, turn right on World's Fair Park Drive, turn left on 11th Street, cross Cumberland Avenue to Estabrook Drive, then finish at the 50 yard line of Neyland Stadium.
The remaining events happen on Sunday, including the 26.2-mile marathon, 13.1-mile half marathon, two-person and four-person marathon relays, and the 5K .
At 7:25 am, participants in wheelchairs and handcycles will start. Five minutes later, the gun will sound for the start of the marathon, half-marathon, 4-person relay, and 2-person relay. The 5k will start at 7:45.
There will be live music along the route, along with water stations and portable toilets for the runners.
On Tuesday, race director Jason Altman explained some of the increased securitysurrounding the race this year.
That includes a higher police presence, stricter access to the finish line inside Neyland Stadium, and a new type of clear drop-off bag for runners.
- Worlds Fair Park Dr. will be closed from start of race until 1/2 marathon passes from 11th St, then closure is moved
- to south of parking lot beside the Museum of Art
- Clinch Ave. bridge from Henley St to 11th St. will be closed entire time of the Marathon
- Clinch Ave. will be closed at start of marathon, 5k, and kids walk from 11th St. to 16th St.
- 16th St closed will be closed at start of marathon, 5k, and kids walk from Clinch to Cumberland
- Volunteer Blvd. east bound lanes will be closed for marathon and 5k all the way back to UT Drive on the West end
- Lake Loudoun Blvd. will have south bound lanes closed from Volunteer Blvd. to Neyland Dr. for marathon
- Neyland Dr. east bound lanes will be closed for marathon from Lake Loudoun to Kingston Pk
- Kingston Pk. east bound lanes closed, traffic will be made 2-way in the west bound lanes
- Cherokee Blvd. south bound lanes will be closed
- Blows Ferry will have right lane (west bound) closed
- Alta Vista Way will have right lane or north bound lane closed
- Noelton right lane closed (towards Kingston Pk closed from Alta Vista Way to KingstonPike).
- Kingston Pike will have right lane of west bound closed from Noelton to Forest Park.
- Forest Park right lane (north bound) closed from Kingston Pk to Newcom.
- Newcom Road will be closed from Forest Park to Lebanon
- Lebanon Road will be closed from Sutherland Ave to Newcom
- Tyson Park will be closed at Kingston Pk entrance
- Cumberland Avenue's right (west bound) lane will be closed from 21st St. to Tyson Park
- 21st closed from Forest Ave to Cumberland Ave.
- Forest Ave. closed from 17th St to 21st St, continue closure from 17th east to 13th
- Highland Ave's east bound lanes closed from 11th to 13th
- World's Fair Park Drive closed on the north end by Fort Kidd (other end already closed)
- Broadway's right lane closed from WFP to Central Ave.
- Central Ave.'s south bound lane closed from Broadway to 3rd Ave.
- Central Ave.'s north bound lane closed from Magnolia Ave to 4th Ave.
- Winona Ave. north bound lane closed from Magnolia to Woodbine
- Woodbine closed from Winona to Bertrand, Local traffic only
- Patton Rd. closed between Jackson and Willow
- Jackson Ave. will be open but from Patton to Central cones will be placed east bound 6-8 ft off curb to give runners a lane
- Central Ave.'s south bound lane closed from Jackson Ave to Cumberland at S. Central.
- State St. will have runner's behind cones in the northbound lane
- Hill Ave. will be closed north bound from Hill Ave to JWP sound bound entrance ramp stating at Gay St.
- Sevier Ave.'s right lane will be closed from JWP to Island Home Ave with cones continued approx 8 feet from curb on Sevier Ave.
- Island Home Ave. will be closed from Sevier to Maplewood. West bound traffic will be force to use Hillwood Dr
- Sevier Ave. will have runners behind cones in the west bound lane. From Island Home to Gay St. runners will be using east sidewalk across the Gay St Bridge
- Gay Street right lane (north bound) closed from Hill Ave to Wall
- Market St. closed from from Union to Church
- Church St. will have west bound lane closed from Market to Locust
- Estabrook Road closed from Cumberland to Gate 25
- Cumberland Ave. east bound from Philip Fulmer Way to Estabrook
Where to watch
You don't have to be running or walking in the marathon to be part of the excitement. The runners need plenty of encouragement along the way, and everyone is invited to line the route to cheer them on. Here's a list of some of the best places to watch, according to marathon organizers:
- Start Line - All events start on the Clinch Avenue Bridge, so you will be able to see your friend start. Both the marathon and half-marathon courses will come through one block away (at the corner of World's Fair Park Drive and Clinch Ave) at mile 12.5. Marathoners will then come back through the start line at mile 25.5. The start line is just half of a mile from Neyland Stadium, so you could see your loved one start and finish easily!
- Western Plaza - Located at the 4400 block of Kingston Pike, Western Plaza has long been a hot spot for full and half-marathon spectators. This location is a great place to see triumphant faces of participants who have just conquered "The Hill" at Noelton Drive. With live bands, a water stop sponsored by Runners Market, and rowdy fans, this location is one of the favorites among runners and spectators alike!
- Tyson Park - Located just off of Cumberland Avenue, you'll see runners and walkers come through this area as they travel down Third Creek Greenway.
- Caswell Park - Located in the beautiful Parkridge neighborhood, Caswell Park is a great location to spot marathoners as they travel near the 16th mile.
- Island Home - Island Home has won "Best Neighborhood" the last four years. This is approximately miles 21-23, so the marathoners need your support!
- Finish Line - Spectators can access the stadium and view runners finish from the stands (NOTE: Spectators are NOT allowed on the field). Spectators can enter Neyland Stadium via gate 9, then they can sit in sections A-P. Just follow the signs once you get to Gate 9. We recommend parking in the G10 parking garage, located just off of Neyland Drive.
For more information about the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, go to their website