Aramco volunteers display a bunch of Aramco Houston Half Marathon finisher medals, which were awarded to all those completing the race.
HOUSTON - The Aramco Houston Half Marathon drew another Texas-sized field of runners – 15,000 for the second year in a row, and the most ever for the race. Despite windy and rainy conditions, the hopefuls gathered on Race Day, Jan. 15, eager and ready to tackle the 13.1-mile course.
Leading the pack were the elite runners, with USA’s Leonard Korir breaking the finish line tape in the men’s division. He clocked in at 1:01:14, just edging out an Olympic silver medalist and former two-time Aramco half marathon champion. Winning the women’s division was Kenya’s Veronicah Nyaruai who finished at 01:07:58.
Houston Marathon Weekend features three races – the half marathon, the full (26.2 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) – and is considered Houston’s single largest sporting event. Aramco Services Co. (ASC) came out in record numbers this year, with hundreds of employees – about half of the organization – running, volunteering or both. In particular 150 runners, the most ever, joined the Aramco Running Team to participate in one of the three races.
For the second consecutive year, the Aramco race and full marathon were broadcast to 120 million homes globally, via ESPN3 and the Longhorn Network coupled with the ABC-TV local affiliate. Additionally, 250,000 spectators lined the course to cheer on the runners.
ASC President & CEO Basil Abul-Hamayel speaks at the opening press conference. 2017 marked Aramco’s 13th year as title sponsor of the half marathon.
At the opening press conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said marathon season “is always an exciting time for the city,” and recognized Aramco and the other sponsors for being a vital part of its success. He also said he was proud that the running event reflects diversity among its participants and raises millions of dollars each year for local charities.
Aramco has served as title sponsor of the half marathon for 13 years. During that time, race participation has tripled, with registration reaching capacity. The Aramco race has hosted 16 USA Half Marathon Championships, and was just named a “Bronze Label Road Race” by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for meeting IAAF quality standards.
Runners from around the world – all 50 U.S. states and 47 countries – participate in the racing event, which has also received international awards for its environmental initiatives.
In his press conference remarks, ASC President & CEO Basil Abul-Hamayel said that Aramco is proud to support an event that means so much to Houston and one that has earned its place on the world stage. “This is much more than just a race,” he said. “It is a source of inspiration to everyone who is part of it.”
Aramco volunteers supported Houston Marathon Weekend, distributing race materials, gear bags and more.