Temilola Sobomehin (Tess Sobo), founder and race director, runningnerds
You are the founder and race director of runningnerds. Its mission is to “… provide a social forum, resource, and service for the contemporary running community!” Distance running events, track and field clinics, and social events for runners — your business model is inclusive for all levels of those seeking a healthier lifestyle. As an entrepreneur, what has been your biggest challenge in reaching both novice and experienced runners?
There are a lot of great opportunities for fitness in Atlanta. My main challenge is introducing the idea of running to someone looking to get physically fit. Most people had bad PE or sports team experiences. So running as a physical activity can be a tough sell sometimes. But, there are many new and fun running events coming on the scene. As a race director, the main challenge is being creative and giving people a reason to choose your event for their weekend adventures. For instance, runningnerds is again hosting the ATL 20K Relay and 10K on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. That’s Labor Day weekend and Atlanta has a lot of races and other indoor and outdoor activities to be a part of. That’s where a race director has to be very creative.
What’s unique about the ATL 20K Relay and 10K?
Participants can choose either of four ways to be in the race: the 4-man relay, the 2-man relay, the 20K individual or the 10K individual. We have a hospitality tent for those who complete the course, a top-notch swag bag, and the race route is the ultra-hip Castleberry district. Walkers and runners will think twice about doing another race that day.
The 2013 ATL 20K/10K was a major success, but you’re a seasoned pro at sports event planning and marketing. How did you get your start?
I was actually a college basketball coach for many years and one of my favorite parts of that role was planning out my season schedule, travel, and summer camps. There are a lot of similarities in being the race director for runningnerds and being coach of a basketball team. I’m happy to be able to continue with that passion.
You’re also community-oriented. What runningnerds effort in this arena are you most proud?
Anytime we are able to get people out to run for the first time, whether it be at a race, group run, or service event, these are my proudest moments. We also have recently started training programs. This has been awesome in helping people set and achieve goals.
Tell us about your other physical love: basketball.
All I have to say about that is “WAHOOWA!” My alma mater is the University of Virginia. They are the 2014 ACC champs and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. My passion for basketball will always be a big part of me.