Aramco race builds brand, camaraderie and good will

In Houston and in elite running circles around the world, the name Aramco takes on special meaning each year in January. That is when more than 300,000 runners, spectators and volunteers descend on downtown Houston to be part of Marathon Weekend. The three-day event hosts the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, the Chevron Houston Marathon, and the We Are Houston 5K, which is jointly sponsored by Aramco and Chevron.

In Houston and in elite running circles around the world, the name Aramco takes on special meaning each year in January. That is when more than 300,000 runners, spectators and volunteers descend on downtown Houston to be part of Marathon Weekend. The three-day event hosts the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, the Chevron Houston Marathon, and the We Are Houston 5K, which is jointly sponsored by Aramco and Chevron.

“Our longstanding support for this event is part of a larger Aramco commitment to health and wellness in the communities where we live and work,” said Mohammad S. Alshammari, President & CEO, Aramco Americas. “Just as important, the event benefits local charities, has a strong economic impact on the city of Houston, and brings people together with positivity, inclusiveness and personal motivation.”

This year, the Aramco half was especially relevant. It was the last race that runners could use to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, a dream for many American runners. It was also an opportunity for elites who are already qualified to check their performance against competitors and test themselves in a race after months of training. As a result, this year’s field of top athletes was larger than ever before.

Community Involvement

“The Aramco Houston Half Marathon kicks off the year for our social responsibility and citizenship program in the Houston community and throughout the U.S.,” said Alma Kombargi, Director, Brand Strategy, Aramco Americas during her press conference remarks.

More than 220 employees, friends and family members turned out throughout the weekend to volunteer. From handing out race bibs and T-shirts, meeting attendees during at the Aramco exhibit, waving from the start lines and greeting runners at the finish, volunteers touched every aspect of the race from beginning to end.

“The half marathon is an opportunity for us to show our continued commitment to the city that we have called home for many decades,” said Abdulrahman Bayounis, Director of Public Affairs, Aramco Americas.

Runners participated in the Run for a Reason program to raise money for good causes, and Aramco joined in by making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, which was selected by employees. Over the past 10 years, Run for a Reason has raised more than $22 million for Houston-area charities.

Kombargi said, “When we started doing this 16 years ago, we never dreamt it would become so large and so life-changing for so many. We are so very proud to be part of it.”

 

2020 Winners

Taking the top win in the women’s half was Hitomi Niiya, of Japan, with a time of 1:06:38, and the top win for men’s was Jemal Yimer, of Ethiopia, with a time of 59:25.

 

The Japanese record was broken by the Aramco half winner Niiya, who also ran the third-fastest time for the Aramco course in Houston.

Click here to watch a video of Hitomi Niiya's record-breaking run.

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