The 2019 Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 20 marked a milestone for the company. It was our 15th consecutive year serving as title sponsor of the race.
The Aramco half has meant a lot of things to a lot of people over the past decade and a half. Tens of thousands of individuals, in fact, from all over the planet (59 countries) have participated in the race. One actually did so in space – completing a 13.1-mile treadmill run aboard the International Space Station in support of ground crew below in the Aramco half. The race has evolved into one of the most popular half marathons in the world.
Click here to view a gallery of Aramco Half Marathon finisher medals and 15 years of race highlights.
“It has been an honor for Aramco to serve as title sponsor of the Houston half marathon for the past 15 years,” said Basil A. Abul-Hamayel, president & CEO of Aramco Services Co. (ASC). “We are very proud of this race and what it has done to inspire so many to achieve their personal goals. As one of three official Houston Marathon racing events, the Aramco half has had a significant impact on the City of Houston – bringing people together and contributing to strong, healthy communities.”
2019 Half Marathon
The 2019 half marathon was another one for the history books – with an all-time high of more than 16,000 signed up for the race. The day started out with near-freezing temperatures, yet the brisk conditions seemed to inspire faster times – especially among the elite competitors.
Brigid Kosgei of Kenya crossed the finish line at 1:05:50, setting a new record for the fastest half marathon in history run by a woman in the United States. And still more, several of the elite runners in this year’s leading pack also posted top finishes – giving the Aramco Houston Half Marathon the eight fastest half-marathon times by women ever on U.S. soil. Shura Kitata of Ethiopia won in the men’s division, breaking the finish tape with a time of 1:00:11.
‘We Are Houston’ 5K Sponsorship
While 2019 marked Aramco’s 15th consecutive year as title sponsor of the half marathon – it also saw the company become co-sponsor of the 5K race, along with Chevron. The 5K is one of three official Houston Marathon Weekend races – including the half marathon and full marathon. Held on Saturday, Jan. 19, the newly named “We Are Houston” 5K reached its maximum capacity of 6,000 runners.
Official Race Duties
ASC executive management members participated in a range of official race duties. Russell P. Jeffcoat, Finance, spoke on behalf of Aramco at several events, including remarks at the start line. Abdulrahman A. Bayounis, Public Affairs; Naser Al-Bishi, Technical Services; Saleh I. Al-Rumaih, Procurement & Logistics; and Tariq A. Al-Ghamdi, Industrial Relations, participated in televised finish line activities with race winners. Amro H. Shawli, Audit, represented the company in a live TV interview focused on sponsor support.
Aramco Runners, Volunteers
Houston Marathon Weekend is Aramco’s largest annual community event in the U.S. We not only serve as a sponsor – but also provide a team of Aramco employees who participate in the races. As well, Aramco volunteers support the race-related activities – distributing race packets, gear bags, finisher medals and shirts. This year, more than 300 Aramco volunteers and runners participated over the weekend.
During the Marathon’s health & fitness expo, Olympic distance runner Meb Keflezighi made an appearance at the Aramco booth to greet fans and sign autographs. Keflezighi has a special connection to the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.
The Houston Marathon’s charitable component, the “Run for a Reason” program, links the philanthropic community to race participants willing to raise funds for meaningful causes as part of their racing experience. Over the past decade, participants in all three races – the half, full and 5K –together topped $2 million per year in donations generated.
Companies associated with the Houston Marathon events may also opt to donate to the Run for a Reason program. Aramco’s designated charity this year was Trees for Houston – an organization the company has supported through the years as part of its commitment to restore and protect the environment.
The Aramco Houston Half Marathon was featured on the local ABC-TV affiliate, along with the full marathon; and also broadcast on ESPN3, the Longhorn Network – reaching more than 120 million homes globally.