Meet Atlanta’s Biggest Running Nerd, Tes Sobo

Tes Sobo created the group runningnerds in Atlanta to celebrate and pursue a running lifestyle.
Tes Sobo created the group runningnerds in Atlanta to celebrate and pursue a running lifestyle. Courtesy of Tes Sobo
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When you think of nerds, you think of books, chess, or academic-minded hobbies. You wouldn’t think of 6 a.m. long runs, marathons, or the search for the perfect sweat-wicking fabric. But that’s what Temilola Sobomehin, or Tes Sobo for short, calls herself. She’s a “bonafide running nerd” and has gathered a band of followers in Atlanta to pursue the social, fun, and inspirational lifestyle that running offers through her group runningnerds.

Pick any number of Atlanta running races, group runs, or events, and you’ll likely run into Tes. She’ll be volunteering at a water stop at one race, working an expo at another, and then racing with a group of training partners. Tes is everywhere in Atlanta’s running community. She’s always positive, she’s always bubbly, and she’s always encouraging beginners to stride into what she calls the “runningnerdnation.”

“I didn’t grow up running,” she says. “I hadn’t even tried running until 2010. I set a goal to complete a 5k race. For seasoned runners, a 5k seems like nothing, but for myself as a newbie runner, I was nervous! Running a 5k was a big deal to me.”

Tess Sobo encourages one of the runningnerds.
Tess Sobo encourages one of the runningnerds. Courtesy of Tess Sobo

Without knowing much about the Atlanta running community, Tes felt naïve and discouraged to continue running. After her first 5k, she didn’t run again until March 2011, when she raced the Shamrock ’n Roll 10K. This time around, she stuck with running when she discovered the Black Girls Run group runs. The group filled the void she had been looking for: Tes needed a sense of community. As a former basketball coach and player, she thrived in an environment surrounded by support and encouragement.

“I didn’t think running could be like that,” she says. “It always seemed so individual. But once I took on the role as a group run lead ambassador with Black Girls Run, that helped fuel the passion I had to inspire, encourage, and support new and established runners.”

Tes realized if Black Girls Run had helped her as a newbie runner, she knew that a run group could have a similar effect on other runners. Through her newfound love of running, Tes and her friends were always talking about running gear, challenges and stories, joking about being “running nerds.” That’s when Tes realized she could create her own group to reach out to the Atlanta running community—and runningnerds was born.

Tess Sobo now organizes races for the runningnerd community.
Tess Sobo now organizes races for the runningnerd community. Courtesy of Tess Sobo

Since founding runningnerds, Tes has delved deep into the running community. She has completed more 5ks and 10ks than she could count, raced in more than 30 half-marathons, four marathon relays, and is training for her fifth full marathon. While these accomplishments are impressive, it’s the work Tes has done in Atlanta that has made waves. She founded three running groups: the Atlanta Beltline Run Club , the West Midtown Run Club , and the Amazing Pace Run Club; and she has led training runs for all of Atlanta’s big races, including the Peachtree Road Race, Publix Marathon, and 13.1 series.

A quick look at runningnerds’ upcoming events shows that there’s no downtime from running. The group has more than 40 opportunities for training and racing in and around Atlanta. Over the past few years, Tes has become a race director for multiple races in the city: the runningnerds 5K, the Atlanta Men’s 5K & Boys’ Bolt, ATL 20K Relay & 10K, the 1 Mile Race Series, and the Monday Night Brewing Westside 10. New for 2016, runningnerds has partnered with The Gathering Spot in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood to host group runs and social events for members. One of her most popular runs, the “Big Ol’ Group Run,” is an homage to the group runs that got Tes involved in running, where groups from around the city gather for a training run. This year’s event is on August 10. Details on location still TBA.

The first annual Big Ol' Group Run.
The first annual Big Ol' Group Run. Courtesy of Tess Sobo

For those looking to dive into running, the runningnerds racing team does the legwork for the organization. These dedicated individuals participate in as many races and volunteer opportunities as they can, while promoting the mission of runningnerds and its goals of fitness through running, teaching, and volunteering.

Through her own passion for volunteering and running, Tes has involved countless others in supporting Atlanta’s running community. As Tes puts it, she’s not making the impact. It’s the runningnerds.

“As a teacher and personal trainer, my passion has always been propelled by the achievements of others,”she says. “Seeing people achieve a race and know that I was part of that development gives me the greatest joy! I am full of passion for personal achievement and I do my best to impart that into others.”

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