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Jan 3, 2024



With  ‘Black Excellence’ as the theme, Black vendors, Black participants, Black sponsors, and the color black are the highlights during the four-day weekend in October since its inaugural year, 2017.

The Race is a half marathon and 5K weekend event that supports black-owned businesses and neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia.  The weekend is presented by The Unity Collective and is intentional about catering to the African-American community, and the black-running community.

Runners flock from around the globe and gather in southwest Atlanta for an exhilarating weekend!

Temilola Sobomehin Marshall, “Tes” is one of the five founding partners and started her running relationship with the running community as a member of Black Girls RUN!  Through her experience with Black Girls RUN!, she saw and participated in numerous races in the community, but realized there wasn’t a race just for…. you guessed it …. US!  Black and brown people of color!

Tes is currently the owner and Race Director of Runningnerds, LLC which produces The Race.  She is also a RRCA Certified Race Director and Running Coach, Lululemon Legacy Ambassador, wife, and mother of a 2 ½-year-old!

With all that, where does she find time to plan and host the most spectacular race you’ll ever experience?  She has a team and a host of volunteers who show up every year!

Tes was part of many conversations that were conducted and centered around the idea of creating a race that would reflect the black community but also support the community while giving participants the experience of a lifetime!

The result of those conversations has produced ‘The Race.”

Fun Facts About Tes:

Tes is a former Women’s Basketball Coach at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Her favorite pastime is hanging out with her 2 ½-year-old daughter, traveling, hanging out with her family, and creating some ZEN time. Coffee shops are her thing too!

Tes has her home brew kit and does a little dabbling with beer recipes for fun.

I sat down with Tes, and asked her some questions some of us participants might want to know:

What was the first thought you had that led to the creation of ‘The Race?”

Tes – “There are five founding partners of The Race.  Conversations took place about creating a space that would support, highlight, and emphasize the involvement of the black runner.  After a live podcast from one of the founding members, the idea kept coming to the forefront to create a race for us, by us. These ideas were formed in 2017.  The founding partners consisted of myself, Booker Edwards, Dr. Ralph Lyons, Shanta McMillan, and Da’Rel Patterson.  The Race is a production of Runningnerds, LLC, which is owned and operated by me, Tes Sobomehin Marshall.

Discussions included making sure there was an Expo event, a community service component, and a Half Marathon.

The five founding partners are all involved in some component of The Race currently.”

Tes is proud to say there have only been positive reactions since their inaugural year.  Black Girls RUN! has been a full supporter of The Race and participation has been insurmountable from BGR!

What do you think helped propel The Race forward?

Tes – “The people, the support, the enthusiasm, word of mouth, the registration process, all contribute in aiding The Race to increase in registrations each year.   People keep signing up, telling others, and bringing new friends and family each year.  The Race will always be the people’s race.”

Why do you think participation has increased?

Tes – “The Race is such a unique experience, it is set apart from other races, by significantly honing in on the black experience.  The experience is geared towards the black experience as a runner.  If you are a first-time Half Marathoner, you may experience a more comfortable race experience knowing that there are others who not only look like them but maybe experiencing their first Half Marathon as well who support them.”

What is a goal for The Race in the future?

Tes – “The theme for 2024 is Black Culture and Run Culture.  What keeps us as the black community running?  What keeps us coming out to not only The Race, but our individual group runs and meet-ups?  It is our goal as The Race partners to delve into what keeps us participating in the run community as a whole.”

It’s been said that the VIBE for The Race is unmatched.

Participants of The Race have used the words unmatched, electrifying, exciting, unified, amazing, and all sorts of uplifting definitions in their posts on social media.

Tes is thrilled that the response to The Race each year transfers from the day of The Race to the pages of social media.

V – Vibrant

I – Impact

B – Black

E – Excellence

Tes – “The way that everything is conducted with The Race comes down to excellence.  Partners, and vendors, are encouraged to come with their ‘A’ game.  They are told to bring their products, come ready to showcase their product, and how the community can get more!”

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.