MARTINEZ — The 15th Annual Shell/MEF Run for Education on Oct. 1, 2017, brought in $75,000 for the Martinez Education Foundation (MEF) while drawing a record 848 runners and walkers who competed in 5k or 10k events through downtown Martinez.

The total amount raised in the 15 years since the Shell Martinez Refinery began the community fundraiser is $725,000, External Relations Manager Ann Notarangelo announced to a crowd gathered around the grandstand.

“This is our signature event – it’s our largest fundraiser and it has the biggest impact on our ability to fund our grant program that benefits all Martinez Unified schoolchildren,” said Cheryl Vereschagin, president of the MEF board. “We appreciate Shell for putting on this run.”

Shell Martinez Refinery GM Tom Rizzo called the Run for Education a gratifying event.

“The special thing for me is that it really brings the community together for a really important cause – the education of our children,” Rizzo said. “It’s about today, and it’s about our future.”

The MEF grants money to teachers in the Martinez Unified School District; the MEF board of directors granted more than $145,000 the schools, primarily in the area of high tech, earlier this year.

Martinez Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Helen Rossi, who helped school students volunteering at the event and cheered runners on, said, “This is a great community event. Everyone comes together for a common purpose, to support our kids and our schools. Without Shell, we couldn’t do it.”

After the Alhambra High School marching band entertained runners and volunteers assembling at Main Street Plaza, a Martinez Police motorcycle officer led runners and walkers starting the race on Main Street under sunny skies. Many of the runners and walkers were accompanied by their children and their dogs, especially on the 5k course. The 10k runners peeled off for the longer course up Carquinez Scenic Drive.

Loren Baker of Martinez came in first in the men’s 10k category, and Dara Flowers of Martinez came in first in the women’s category. John Hill of Pleasant Hill, a Shell Martinez Refinery senior engineer, won the men’s 5k competition, and Lisa Allan of Martinez won the women’s event.

The complete results are posted at

Along with the student volunteers from Martinez Junior High School and Alhambra High School, dozens of Shell employees and community members volunteered to make the event a success.

The Run began in 2003 with the goal of rallying the community in support of Martinez schools and promoting health and wellness. It is the hallmark community event of the Shell Martinez Refinery, which devotes staff time to organizing the event and matches contributions. This year’s Run was also supported by dozens of corporate sponsors that donated money and gave in-kind contributions.

The Run was preceded on Saturday evening by a fundraising Family Fun Night sponsored by the Martinez Rotary and Kiwanis clubs at the Shell Clubhouse.

Visit the Shell Refinery in Martinez Facebook page for photos and a video.

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