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'Streakers' run every Knoxville Marathon ever held

A group of 15 runners will run their 15th consecutive Knoxville Marathon this weekend.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — They call themselves streakers. 

"It’s a pretty awesome accomplishment to be a streaker," said runner Mark Hudspeth. 

"It’s an honor to be a streaker," said Becky Tener, another runner. 

Despite what you may be thinking, no, the name doesn’t come from the amount of clothing they wear.

A group of 15 runners will race in the Knoxville Marathon for the 15th time this year.

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From the starting line to the finish inside Neyland Stadium, the streakers have completed all 26.2 miles of the Knoxville Marathon every single year since it first started in 2005. 

"The first one was very painful. I couldn’t walk for days afterward, said I’d never do it again. It’s probably one of the most challenging courses in the United States," said Hudspeth. "But for some reason, we just keep coming back."

Credit: Mark Hudspeth

Every race has a story and Libby Overholt still remembers her first one. 

"One of the main things I remember is coming up on the Gay Street bridge and looking to my left and seeing the lights of Neyland Stadium. I just cried. I was overcome with emotion," said Overholt. "Sometimes I try to remember all of the marathons and I say wow, I forgot about that. It’s just mind-boggling that 15 years now have come."

Credit: Libby Overholt

Mark Hudspeth lost 80 pounds running marathons and just completed his goal of competing in one in all 50 states. None is closer to his heart, or his calf as the Knoxville Marathon. He has a tattoo commemorating the race and his accomplishments. 

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"The tattoo represents being a streaker," said Hudspeth. "It’s got the Sunsphere for Knoxville and it’s got the turtle because I’m always real slow, towards the very back of the pack." 

All the streakers have something in common. They overcame doubt, pain, fear, and injury to make it to the finish line. 

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"The first one, my goal was just to finish," said Tener. "I was afraid of that distance. I thought I don’t think I can do this."

Credit: Becky Tener

15 people have run the race every year and are part of the streakers club. Many travel from all around the country to compete. Just like the rest of us, they tackle the course one step at a time.

"It just goes to show you that putting one foot in front of the other, you can do things you never thought you could do," said Overholt. 

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