KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The running community is pretty close here in Knoxville, but when it comes to the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, you have a chance to meet people from all over the country, and even the world. Sometimes those relationships can stick for a lifetime. We’re talking a marriage made in marathon heaven.

The Blewett family is an active bunch: walking, biking and in mom Jill’s case, running. A lot.

Jill has completed a marathon in all fifty states, but it’s the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon that changed her life forever.

“I kept looking around at marathons in Tennessee and I found the Knoxville Marathon and being from California, I had never actually ever heard of Knoxville,” Jill said.

She needed a place to stay in Knoxville and wound up meeting Nathan, the man who would become her husband.

“He was my backup host for couch surfing. It’s basically where you stay on someone’s couch for free back then; I think you have to pay now. But back then, he was my backup host and basically since we had corresponded and had been emailing back and forth, we ended up having dinner together the night before and you know the rest is history, I guess! “ Jill laughed.

“We went to the Italian restaurant downtown, waited 3 hours for our food and ended up getting to know each other pretty well and started seeing each other after that,” Nathan said.

The two knew they had something special.

“I think it was six months long-distance and then I moved here in January 2011, so like nine months after the marathon. He called it my six month probationary period,” Jill said with a laugh. “I lived in an apartment across town and then he proposed after those six months.”

Nathan learned to run marathons thanks to Jill’s enthusiasm.

“Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, those are fun,” Nathan said. “So I’ll go for moral support and get to run with her and see these cool places, so you know she’s definitely a motivator.”

The running theme carried over into their wedding day. It truly was a marriage made in marathon heaven and quite a story for their daughters Norah and Rebekah.

We asked, “Do you know that story? Do they share that with you? “ Norah answered, “Yes, I’ve told lots and lots of people at school and it’s something I especially like to brag about!”

“I haven’t really heard about it much,” Rebekah said. “I forget about it so I don’t tell much people at school.”

The marathon made lasting memories for Jill and Nathan. A couple now with their family going the distance together.

“It’s just funny, the things that bring you together, “ Nathan said. “If that hadn’t happened or we had never met, we wouldn’t have these two amazing, beautiful girls, and just, you know, living the dream in Knoxville.”

Look for Jill in this year’s marathon. She’s volunteering as a pacer this year, helping keep runners on track and cheering them on.