KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Runners of all ages and places will be taking on the course for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, some of them tackling the 26.2-mile challenge for the first time.

Bryson Shannon is running his first marathon on Sunday.

“Whenever I start running I kind of get in a zone,” Shannon said. “I get away from everything, just kind of get focused.”

Matt, is also running his first marathon, however, he is doing the race with a bigger goal in mind.

“My plan is to do a full Iron Man and I wanted to run a marathon first,” said Matt, who chose not to share his last name.

Both runners have been training for months to take on the challenging course.

“Just stay with it every day. I started out running two miles a day and then I built up and kept on going,” Shannon said.

“The Knoxville Marathon is a little harder to train for just because it is so hilly,” Matt said. “Luckily in East Tennessee, there are no flat runs. The best way to train is to just train around here because it is always going to be an elevated run and I guess a lot of miles under your belt.”

Training for the race can be mirroring of the course, with many ups and downs, Shannon believes persistence is key.

“Consistency, if you don’t do every day, there ain’t no point in doing it, unless you are one of these natural runners that can run all of the time,” Shannon said.

Both are hopeful to cross that finish line come Sunday.

“Just come in, try not to go full throttle all at once,” Shannon said. “Stay steady and keep a good pace and hopefully we can get under 4 hours maybe.”

“My goal, if I can do 3 hours and 30 minutes ill be happy,” Matt said. “If I can somehow do 3:15, maybe I’ll qualify for Boston, so who knows.”