KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Saturday, Feb. 5, children throughout Knoxville will begin the first mile to complete a marathon. The Covenant Kids Run will kick off at noon at Zoo Knoxville.

The 1-mile course is the beginning of the children’s challenge to complete the exercise equivalent of a 26.2-mile marathon. The run is part of the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. Starting Feb 5, children will log their physical activity leading up to the final mile of the Covenant Kids Run at World’s Fair Park on Saturday, March 26. All exercise counts, including running, walking and active play.

“The Covenant Kids Run motivates children to lead healthier lives, and there’s no better place for participants to enjoy the outdoors and have fun than Zoo Knoxville,” Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Race Director Jason Altman said. “We encourage families to join their runners at the event and set fitness goals together. Once kids cross the finish line, stay all day to explore the zoo, too!”

Children in eighth grade and younger are eligible to participate in the Kids Run and each child who participates in the Covenant Kids Run on March 26 will earn one point for their school in the Fittest School Challenge. This competition among area schools awards 10 local schools with prize money and a Fittest School Challenge plaque.

The run begins at noon in Zoo Knoxville and costs $20 to register. This covers the cost of the Feb. 5 event, the last lap on March 26 and free zoo admission for the race participant and one accompanying adult on race day. Signup can be done in advance at knoxvillemarathon.com or at the zoo beginning at 10 a.m. the day of the event. Any additional guests may pay half-price for admission on Feb. 5.

“This event aims to strengthen local children’s self-confidence and inspire active lifestyle choices,” Altman said. “By setting a big goal and seeing it through to the finish line on March 26, we hope these kids are empowered and see fitness as fun and achievable.”

In case of inclement weather on Feb. 5, knoxvillemarathon.com will have updates.