Marathon Grows in Second Year

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Marathon Grows in Second Year

Posted: 03/21/2006
Mayor Bill Haslam encouraged residents to come out Sunday and support runners in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, and for motorists to be aware that lanes and roads along the course will be closed at times.

 "Organizers thought the number of participants might drop off in the second year of the event - but they've actually increased with more than 3,500 people expected to run in the marathon, half-marathon and 5K," said Mayor Bill Haslam, who is planning to run the 13-mile half-marathon. "Runners are coming from across the world and I know our city will want to give them a warm welcome."The race this year will follow the same course as last year, beginning at 7 a.m. near the Knoxville Convention Center and winding through the neighborhoods of Fort Sanders, Sequoyah Hills, Fourth & Gill, Parkridge, Island Home, and Old Sevier, as well as downtown and the University of Tennessee campus. Live entertainment will be featured at 11 different sites, and Party Boys DJ Show will be at the start, finish, post race party and several other locations. Tony Spezia, president and CEO of Covenant Health, said he was particularly pleased that the Cariten Kids Run has more than 300 children participating this year.

L to R: Kevin Skurski - president of the Knoxville Marathon, Tony Spezia - president and CEO of Covenant Health, and City of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam "As the largest health system in East Tennessee, Covenant Health agreed to be the title sponsor of this event because we are committed to the health and well-being of our community," Spezia said. "This event has been the catalyst for many people to adopt healthier lifestyles that include exercise and good eating habits that will prevent or reduce their risk for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes."Kevin Skurski, president of the Knoxville Marathon, said support from the community - including more than 800 volunteers on race day - is what makes the event so successful."Because of the support of sponsors we are able to offer our runners an even better experience than last year - including goody bags filled with fun and cool swag, a post-race party at Thompson-Boling Arena, a fittest company challenge and cash prizes for top finishers in both the marathon and half-marathon," he said. . "Everyone has pulled together to ensure that we have safe races and a fun weekend for our guests."

The marathon and half-marathon will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday on the Clinch Avenue bridge over World's Fair Park, followed by the Cariten Kids Run and the 5K run. All races will inside the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium. Each runner's finish will be broadcast over the Jumbotron.The event will necessitate road and lane closures through the city - most streets will see staggered closures and re-openings - and all streets are expected to be open by 2 p.m. Sunday.Motorists needing to get to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and East Tennessee Children's Hospital on Sunday morning should take Cumberland Avenue to 19th Street.In addition, parking will be prohibited on Clinch Avenue between 11th and 16th Street, and vehicles parked on bagged meters will be towed Saturday evening."Motorists need to exercise caution and patience Sunday morning and early afternoon as they drive through the city," Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said. "Officers will be posted throughout the course to direct traffic and they will need the cooperation of drivers to ensure this is a safe event."Maps of the course are available at www.knoxvillemarathon.com and www.cityofknoxville.org as well as a listing of recommended spectator sites.