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2020 Knoxville Marathon going virtual this year because of COVID-19

Participants will have a 9-day window to run the race on their own and submit their results to marathon organizers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Because of COVID-19 safety concerns, the organizers of the 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon have moved to a virtual event this year.

The postponed marathon weekend was scheduled to take place Nov. 14-15, but organizers decided it would be hard to hold the event safely.

“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."

So even though everyone won't be able to gather together, runners and walkers can still participate in the Kids Run, the 5K, the half-marathon and the full marathon, along with relay events.

"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,” said Altman.

Between the dates of Nov. 7-15, participants will be asked to complete their chosen event and upload their results to the marathon website.

In early November, the start line, mile markers and finish line for all courses will be painted. Participants 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.

Everyone who takes part will receive a medal, t-shirt, and goody bag.

New participants can register for the virtual event here starting Sept. 15. 

If you have already registered and don't want to compete in the virtual event, you can defer registration to 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.

“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.”

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. Connect with Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon on Facebook, @chknoxmarathon on Twitter and via @knoxvillemarathon on Instagram.

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