KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As runners make the final preparations headed into marathon weekend, there are also people off the pavement gearing up to cheer on competitors.
“Sequoyah Hills is really the place to be for the Knoxville Marathon,” said Doug Peek, who has been dubbed Chief Fun Officer in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood as they get ready for another year of cheering on runners. He’s also known as DJ Doug.
“DJ Doug’s favorite song, if you ask his littlest followers, would be Fireball from Pit Bull,” he said.
The fun doesn’t end with a great playlist, the entire neighborhood does its part to cheer on runners in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.
“We do have bands, DJs, cheering squads, we have marching bands, and they sort of pick little areas throughout our neighborhood,” Peek explained. “I think there’s about 30 stops, if you will, or 30 areas that you would pass as part of the Knoxville Marathon in our neighborhood.”
Peek said on Sunday morning, there will be hundreds of signs lining Cherokee Boulevard. The goal is to bring smiles and support to runners as they climb one of the biggest hills along the marathon route.
“It is called Sequoyah Hills for a reason, there’s a lot of hills,” he said with a laugh. “From a runner’s standpoint, they seem to think it’s challenging towards the end of the neighborhood because there’s that long last run up the hill back towards the runners’ market area over at Bearden Plaza.”
He said the encouragement the neighborhood provides is the least they can do to help push these competitors not just over the hills, but one step closer to their goals.
“It is a challenge they have worked on for months if not years,” he said. “As long as you start the race and finish the race, you’ve overcome that obstacle.”
This neighborhood will be ready on marathon morning, not just this coming weekend, but for years to come.
“You may have never ran a race, you probably never tried even a 5K or even a half-mile competition, but even those that don’t want to run can be a part of this,” he said. “It’s almost as if it’s in a team event.”