(See our 2019 USA Cycling information.)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In Sequoyah Hills, there is an expectation during the city’s marathon that homes, front yards, and neighbors will show in support of marathon runners coming through the neighborhood.
Led by Neighborhood Organizer Paula Herston, signs, costumes, bells and whistles are all part of the yearly tradition.
Herston’s passion for the sport led her to want to encourage other marathon runners in her own neighborhood. It’s the same passion for cycling that has her organizing a “cheer section” along Central Avenue, in front of the State Street Garage, for the USA Cycling Championships.
“I get chills this is a big deal. It’s really exciting, these people are famous to me,” said Herston.
Herston is a part of Knoxville’s cycling community, specifically mountain biking, but she says regardless of the medium the cycling community is one.
“The fact that Knoxville is able to get something like this, I think that’s the biggest deal,” said Herston.
But instead of signs and costumes, she’s keeping it simple. She says she doesn’t want the support to be a distraction or danger for the cyclists.
“Support is a big deal, when you’re in that mental zone and you’re trying to get from point a to point b as quickly as you possibly can, knowing people want you to get there as quickly as you possibly can, it feels a lot better,” said Herston.
She’s planning on lining Central Ave. with 200 pin wheels as well as loaning hats and cow bells to fans who want to enjoy the race, just up from the finish line on Gay St.
She says she hopes Knoxville shows up to support on any part of the course.
“It’s a spectacle unlike anything else you’ll see in town,” Herston said.
WATE 6 On Your Side will have live coverage of the USA Cycling Championships on air and WATE.com.