Covenant Kids Run kick-off date nears

Jay FitzEast Knox, Our Town Health

The Covenant Kids Run at Zoo Knoxville is set for Saturday, Feb. 4. The 1-mile course winds through animal exhibits and encourages East Tennessee children to be active, support their schools and get involved in one of the community’s largest events.

It is the start of the student exercise challenge, which will finish with a final mile at World’s Fair Park during the Covenant Health Marathon weekend on Saturday, April 1.

Throughout the two months between events, children will complete the exercise equivalent of a 26.2-mile marathon. All exercise counts, including running, walking and playing.

“The Covenant Kids Run is an exciting tradition that incentivizes being active and a chance for young participants to be part of East Tennessee’s most popular road race,” Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon race director Jason Altman said. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to set fitness goals. Register your child and yourself for races and start on the right foot together!”

The run kicks off at noon inside Zoo Knoxville. The $20 registration fee covers the cost of the Feb. 4 event and the last lap on April 1. Sign up in advance at or onsite at the zoo starting at 10 a.m. the day of the event.

The fee also includes free admission to the zoo for the race participant and one accompanying adult on the day of the run. Any additional guests may pay half-price for admission.

On April 1, all children are invited to finish strong in World’s Fair Park. The route starts on the Clinch Avenue Viaduct near the Sunsphere, continues through the Fort Sanders neighborhood and ends next to the festival lawn, where treats will be waiting for participants.

Children in eighth grade and younger are eligible to participate in the Kids Run. Each child who participates in the Covenant Kids Run on April 1 will gain a point for his or her school in the Fittest School Challenge, a competition among area schools.

Schools sign up for the Covenant Kids Run and provide a total student enrollment count. The top five schools in the categories of small school (fewer than 300 students) and large school (301+ students) with the highest percentage of student participation in the race win prize money and a Fittest School Challenge plaque. The prize money is applied at the school’s discretion to make the most positive impact, often going toward physical education programs and supplies.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley also are encouraging participation in the Kids Run. As the 2023 Community Partner, the clubs are incentivizing children to get active and earn titles for their club, including the club with the most participants and first club to finish the marathon challenge. Members can get involved by contacting their club.

“This event is all about inspiring healthy lifestyles and giving back to our local schools and organizations that serve students,” Altman said. “We’re eager to see it come full circle on April 1 and hope kids will continue to step up to the challenge.”

In case of inclement weather Feb. 4, visit for updates.

Lauren Miller of Moxley Carmichael provided information for this story.


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