It was a triumphant day for the thousands of runners who participated in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 19 (“Race Day”). The near-perfect weather set the stage for great running conditions; and the cheers from the more than 200,000 spectators added energy and excitement to the world-class running event.
It was also a very special day for Aramco Services Company (ASC), as the 2014 race marked the company’s 10th
anniversary serving as the title sponsor. For a decade, the U.S. subsidiary has been building Aramco’s brand reputation in North America with what has become the largest single sporting event in the city of Houston.
Read more about our 10 years of commitment to the Aramco Houston Half Marathon
One of the most popular races in the U.S.
The past decade has been marked with some remarkable achievements. The race has more than doubled in size and has grown into one of the nation’s premier running events. It also caught the attention of USA Track & Field Committee officials, who selected it as the best venue for hosting both the men’s and women’s USA half marathon championships.
Nabeel Amudi, ASC president, during the opening press conference, summarized it nicely when he said: “We never could have imagined how much this partnership with the Houston Marathon Committee, City of Houston, local charities and the global running community would grow – and at the same time, how this race would change our company, becoming something that’s embraced by our employees and their families. It is a special point of pride for all of us at Aramco to see the half marathon evolve into one of the most popular races in the United States.”
Year after year, the half marathon has provided runners with the opportunity to achieve a personal goal of completing the 13.1 miles, to honor a loved one, or raise money for one of the 60 local charities that participate in the “Run for a Reason” program. Registration for this year’s race again topped out at 13,000 – the maximum capacity.
The Aramco Houston Half Marathon is one of the three official races of the Houston Marathon, which also includes a full marathon (26.2 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles).
Annually, the Houston Marathon three-day weekend draws more than 250,000 participants, volunteers and spectators; and generates more than $50 million in economic impact for the region. The races include runners from all 50 U.S. states and 26 countries. This year, nearly 30,000 runners participated.
In 2013, the “Run for a Reason” charity program raised $2.2 million and the Houston Marathon Committee garnered Gold Certification from the Council of Responsible Sport for industry-leading sustainability initiatives. “The race is a shining example of a socially and environmentally friendly sporting event and it closely aligns with Aramco’s own core value to safeguard the environment,” said Amudi.
ASC participation in Houston Marathon activities
ASC not only partners with the Houston Marathon Committee as title sponsor of the half, but also provides support to its many activities. Each year, employees participate in one of the three races, and also serve as volunteers throughout the three-day weekend.
This year, ASC provided more than 60 runners and 200 volunteers – which included employees, their family members and friends. Volunteers helped distribute race packets, goodie bags, finisher shirts and medals; and helped serve a post-race breakfast. To raise awareness about the company with this audience, ASC also sponsored an exhibit booth during the Health & Fitness Expo where volunteers visited with attendees and distributed branded items.
In celebration of its 10-year sponsorship, ASC committed support to one of Houston’s historic parks, Memorial Park, that was devastated from a drought several years ago. ASC partnered with a local radio station to promote community awareness of the reforestation effort. The station crew broadcast from the ASC exhibit booth to continue the awareness efforts and build enthusiasm for the racing event in general.
The three-hour event was covered live by KTRK-TV Channel 13, a local ABC affiliate. During the broadcast, a promotional spot highlighting ASC aired showcasing the company’s many philanthropic programs that support the local community including tree-planting in parks, restoration of marine ecosystems and contributions to food pantries. The daily local newspaper covered the event on the front page saying, “Marathon brings miles of smiles.”
Winners were all smiles
Because of the excellent weather conditions on race day, runners were all smiles as each step brought them closer to the finish line. While well-known elite runners from around the world compete, the event attracts recreational runners who train throughout the year in preparation for the race.
Several ASC employees who ran described it as “an incredible experience” they will never forget. There were thousands of other “feel-good” stories of people running for their own special reasons.
For ASC it was a milestone anniversary showing Houstonians and the world its dedication to making a difference in the community.