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Shell/MEF Run for Education raises $77,000

Cheryl Vereschagin, president of the Martinez Education Foundation, accepts a check for $77,000 raised in the 2016 Shell/MEF Run for Education from Shell Martinez Refinery General Manager Tom Rizzo. (SHELL MARTINEZ REFINERY)
Cheryl Vereschagin, president of the Martinez Education Foundation, accepts a check for $77,000 raised in the 2016 Shell/MEF Run for Education from Shell Martinez Refinery General Manager Tom Rizzo. (SHELL MARTINEZ REFINERY)

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The 14th Annual Shell/MEF 5k/10k Run for Education on Oct. 2, 2016, brought in $77,000 for the Martinez Education Foundation (MEF) and drew more than 700 people who registered for the 5k or 10k runs.

Shell Martinez Refinery GM Tom Rizzo called the Sunday morning event a big success.

“Shell has a longstanding relationship with Martinez, and the Run for Education has become part of the foundation of that relationship,” Rizzo said.

“We had another fabulous turnout, with over 700 runners and walkers and over 100 high school and junior high volunteers,” said MEF board president Cheryl Vereschagin. “It shows the community spirit, and that our students recognize what the MEF contributes back to our school.”

The MEF grants money to teachers in the Martinez Unified School District; last year the MEF board of directors granted $150,000 to the schools, primarily in the area of high tech.

Martinez Unified School District Superintendent CJ Cammack said the district appreciates the support.

“This year’s Run for Education is a tremendous example of local business and community members coming together to support the students and schools of Martinez,” Cammack said.

On a crisp fall morning, the 700 participants either ran or walked the 5k route through downtown Martinez, while a good portion ran a 10k route that also went up to the hills on Carquinez Scenic Drive.

John Hill of Pleasant Hill, a Shell Martinez Refinery senior engineer, came in first in the men’s 10k category, and Lori Ligouri of Concord came in first in the women’s category. Noa Nabeshima of Martinez won the men’s 5k competition, and Lisa Allan of Martinez won the women’s event.

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 Alhambra High School marching band performed in the downtown plaza before the race started.

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 42 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.

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