Atlanta

The founder of the nation’s largest Black long-distance running event just wants participants to have a good time – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-10-19 13:36:26 –

Tess Bomehin Marshall

Photo courtesy of Tes Sobomehin Marshall

On the first weekend of October, nearly 2,000 people saidrace, “The largest black long-distance running event in Japan. Inspired by race director Tes Sobomehin Marshall, the event included Saturday’s 5K and half marathon, followed by a community service day, with participants stuffing with Hosea Feed the Hungry and helping the local park landscape. , Volunteer with other neighborhood organizations. .. Plus, for $ 5 from every entry, nonprofits such as Empowered Readers, Girls on the Run Atlanta, and Carrie Steele-Pitts Home are supported.

For Marshall, the race, launched in 2018, is the culmination of more than a decade of building a comprehensive community running group and starting the race in some of the towns that other organizers have overlooked.

“When I started racing in 2010, there weren’t many people who looked like me, so I thought it would be cool to find another black woman to run with,” said a former high school and college basketball player. Says Marshall, a coach and personal trainer. Charisma, cheerleader-like energy, and team-building skills make her a natural race director.

So she signed up to become a local ambassador Black Girls RunOrganize a national training community. Marshall has launched more than 10 groups in metropolitan areas to help make Atlanta’s branch the fastest growing and largest in the country. She soon realized that she enjoyed not only recruiting and training with other runners, but also the excitement of finishing the race, drinking beer, cheering on competitors and making new friends.

“I love the energy and community of Race Day and I thought it would be fun to race myself as a kind of passionate project,” she says. “Moreover, most of the races in the city didn’t go west of Northside Drive or south of downtown at the time, so I wanted to change that.”

She sought the guidance of a local race director to learn about course planning and logistics, volunteer management and financing, and finally started her first race in December 2012. Run social Atlanta The series includes a dozen and a half annual races, including West End Miles and REI ATL Relays, and 10K and 20K that benefit the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association.

“All our races are sociable events, like big neighborhood block parties,” explains Marshall. For example, Monday Night Brewing 10 offers free beer to brewery participants after passing through the brutal hills of the West Side.

“We were the first race to finish at a brewery in Atlanta,” says Marshall. Events centered around fun destinations like Topgolf and Urban Tree Cidery ease their intimidation and welcome newcomers more.

The same principles of accessibility and community apply to races developed by Marshall in collaboration with other local businesses and running groups. South Fulton Running Partner.. “We wanted to host a race to celebrate what we built in Atlanta’s black running community,” said Marshall, who funded the first year’s event in a kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $ 75,000 from more than 1,000 individuals. say.

The October series soon became a Black Runner destination, with approximately 1,500 attendees from more than 40 states in the first year to support local businesses such as IwiFresh and Kika Stretch Studios in large-scale pre-plays. That’s why we raised over $ 60,000 a year. Race Expo. Online programming, including the presence of brand-savvy social media, virtual racing options, live DJs, workout classes, and interviews with race sponsors and charitable partners, required virtualization last year, but enthusiasm has increased. I’m continuing.

“We are excited to go back directly to the weekend live event and continue our mission to support the black neighborhoods, runners and businesses in Atlanta,” says Marshall. “The city is creating a legacy that daughters and racer children can use and be proud of for years to come,” said the new mom, who gave birth to her first child in May. I’m adding.

This article appeared in the October 2021 issue.

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