One year after The Race’s inaugural season, Race Director Temilola Sobomehin Marshall—or Tes for short—is reflecting on the events’ success in lifting up Atlanta’s Historic Westside neighborhoods and black members of the running community. The Race was a 5K and half-marathon event where participants ran through Atlanta’s Historic Westside neighborhoods, including Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center. But The Race was more than a race. It was a weekend long event where participants rallied together in support of black-owned businesses, neighborhoods and charities.
“The Race isn’t just about what happens on the day of the event,” Marshall said. “We want to build connections before, during and after. We do neighborhood runs in the months leading up to the race so that folks can train together and have that sense of community as they run through the finish line. And we keep those relationships alive by engaging in service projects the very next day.” These service projects are powered by Westside Future Fund and support Westside neighborhoods.
Marshall sees The Race as a model for how a predominantly African-American community can come together and pull off a world class endurance event in support of the host city.
The Race made its Atlanta debut in October 2018. Over 1,400 runners came together with hundreds of volunteers to bring this event to life. And while this event was powered by and worked to uplift Atlanta, the support was national, with runners representing 34 different states. “We were really inspired and honored by that,” Marshall said. “It goes to show that you can support local communities with a national base. We were able to show off the pride of the Westside. The out-of-state runners appreciated that they weren’t just seeing the touristy stuff throughout the weekend. They felt the sense of history that we pride ourselves on.”
That pride in the Westside is exactly the energy that motivated both The Race itself and the vision for its charitable impact. After attending a Transform Westside Summit at the end of 2017, Marshall was moved by the power and potential within the organization. Subsequently, Westside Future Fund was named as one of the Charitable Impact Fund Partners for The Race. Five dollars from every registration was collected and put into that fund.
Marshall’s main goal this year is to encourage as much participation as possible from Westside residents. She hopes they will take pride in helping activate this impactful event that takes place in their neighborhoods while also getting to know each other better.
The Race 2019 will also feature an expo day the day prior to the event hosted at Impact Event Center. This will give local small businesses and nonprofit organizations a chance to meet members of the community and share what they do.
Interested in running in or volunteering with The Race 2019? Click here for more information.