Running Records Fall
Two new records set at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon
Two-hundred of our volunteers help distribute bibs, sweat cloths, water, and finisher awards.
The 18th Aramco Houston Half Marathon set two records Jan. 16. Vicoty Chepngeno finished first in the women’s race and set a course record, and Sarah Hall set a new women’s American record for the half, adding to the excitement of the first in-person Marathon Weekend since 2020.
Winning the men’s half was Milkesa Tolosa.
Elite athletes and recreational runners came from all 50 U.S. states and 55 countries to compete because the annual event is used by athletes to qualify for Olympic teams or world track and field meets.
The two marathon races combine to make it Houston’s largest single-day sporting event, bringing more than $50 million in economic activity to Houston. The weekend also includes a 5K co-sponsored by Aramco and Chevron.
“It is great to see the energy of Houston everywhere you look,” said Nabeel I. AlAfaleg, president and CEO, Aramco Americas, who gave a few words of encouragement to the runners at the start line.
There are runners there to compete, others to honor a loved one, and still others for the pure joy of the sport, and supporting all this are the volunteers who are critical to the event’s management.
— Nabeel I. AlAfaleg
This year, with changing COVID-19 conditions, additional health and safety protocols were put in place as recommended by the chief medical officers of the City of Houston and the Marathon Committee.
Charities benefit big
The charitable component of the race, Run for a Reason, has generated $33 million in the 27 years since its inception. This year, Living Water International won a $25,000 prize from Aramco through an online vote by employees and the general public.
“We love this event because it means so much to so many people,” said Aramco Americas director of Public Affairs Rania Biltagi during the opening press conference. “These races demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit, which I believe rings true now more than ever.”
Biltagi also participated in a sidelines interview with ABC13-TV, the broadcast for the marathon. “It’s wonderful to see two records broken already, and to be back on track and live on race day,” she said.
Everyone at Aramco is really excited to be part of this event and to give back to Houston.
— Rania Biltagi
Volunteers lend a hand
Aramco volunteers numbered 200 this year and included employee members of affiliated companies Motiva and SABIC. They passed out race bibs, sweat cloths, water, and finisher awards at various points in the event, and also staffed an Aramco booth at the event’s EXPO, which is focused on health and safety.
The Aramco racing team, which was also joined by affiliate companies, fielded 100 runners in one of the three races.
The Marathon celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.