KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Around 2,000 runners hit the streets of Downtown Knoxville on a rainy Sunday morning for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, half marathon, and relays. It’s an event that’s been two years in the making said race director, Jason Altman.

“It’s been two and a half years since we’ve been out here executing race weekend. We’ve planned several times and have done one virtual event, but it’s nice to be back on the streets of the City of Knoxville.”

The ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings in 2020 and early 2021 postponed the 17th Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon until now. This year’s race was a smaller crowd than usual, with past races having 8,000 runners, but some people still traveled from out of state.

“It’s nice to come down and have everyone come together and support each other,” said runner Hyatt Bolden, who traveled from Cleveland, Ohio.

Despite the rain, spectators like Sarah Hopkins and Catlin Duggan were happy to be a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day and cheer on the runners.

“We’re so proud of these runners and we’re happy to be out here. They’re really intense to be running in the rain,” said Hopkins. “So very proud of them.”

Martina Stump said this was her daughter’s very first marathon. Her family came from Cookville to show their support, “She had a goal and she’s going to accomplished it. So as a parent you couldn’t ask for anything better for your kid.”

The first-place finisher, Ethan Coffey was happy to be able to join the race again. “It’s good to have races back. I miss running this race. So I decided to jump in last minute.” He added that this wasn’t his best time, stating that when he won in 2015, his time was around 25 minutes faster.

He’s one of the many people who are just glad to have the event in person once again.

“We’ve been working tirelessly with both the City of Knoxville and with Covenant Health over the past year to say, alright what’s scenario A, scenario B, what if numbers are this,” said race director, Jason Altman. “You know we wanted to still be able to put the event on but to still be able to do it in a safe manner.”

This race is usually held in the spring and they plan on bringing it back to that time frame in 2022. Next year’s race is on the books for March 22nd.

To view the final race times for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, half marathon, and relays you can click here.