featureTeam spirit energizes Houston-to-Austin fundraising event

houston, Texas
june 2018

 

The camaraderie. The challenge. The cause. That’s why 60 cyclists and volunteers on Team Marathon Oil trained, cooked, volunteered, raised funds, and either pedaled their way from Houston to Austin or cheered on the sidelines at this year’s BP MS 150. The two-day bike ride draws 13,000 cyclists and 3,500 volunteers each year to raise funds for the National MS Society to support research and services for those affected by multiple sclerosis.

Eric, an exploration manager in Marathon Oil’s Resource Exploration (REx) organization, is a veteran of the race, having participated in about 10 rides over the years. “I am so appreciative of Marathon Oil’s role in the BP MS 150,” he says. “It’s one more reason I’m proud to work here.”

He also says that the social side and MRO team spirit are big factors. A serious cyclist who rides his bike to work and may do a 70-mile ride as weekend exercise, Eric ups the ante during the MS 150 by showing up on non-racing bikes, such as this year’s beach bike. “I mix it up a little,” he laughs. “It makes people smile."

 

The team is made up of a mix of experienced riders and first-time participants. The veterans provide encouragement for the team’s new riders and recruit new volunteers each year. In the months preceding the MS 150, the team committee organizes happy hour events and weekend training rides with the larger Ready2Roll group in Houston.

Another team member, Whitney, was initially drawn to the athletic challenge. She began participating in the MS 150 in San Antonio while she was working in the Eagle Ford for Marathon Oil, and has continued her participation since moving five years ago to Houston, where she’s now a financial analyst in the planning organization. “I’ve discovered it’s really fun – great camaraderie and a chance to get to know people in different parts of the company that I might not otherwise interact with,” she says.

“I’ve also met more people affected by MS, and seen the medicines that are being developed, so I know the impact our participation can have.” 

The Company supports the event by providing a huge tent and food at the overnight stop in La Grange, where Marathon Oil employees and family members volunteer to serve dinner and breakfast and clean up after the riders start their second-day ride. A second tent welcomes the team at the finish line in Austin.

 

For Marathon Oil team captain Andy, the cause is personal. “I’ve done this for years because my wife has MS,” he says. “When I first heard about the ride it sounded interesting, but when I learned it was for MS, I knew I had to do it.” Andy alone has raised more than $100,000 since he began riding. In addition to being a great cause, Andy notes, the ride is “really good fun – like a two-day party with your co-workers.” 

The Company supports the event by providing a huge tent and food at the overnight stop in La Grange, where Marathon Oil employees and family members volunteer to serve dinner and breakfast and clean up after the riders start their second-day ride. A second tent welcomes the team at the finish line in Austin.

Employees also take advantage of our matching gifts program, which can double the funds they donate. Including matching gifts, this year the team raised nearly $124,000. Since Marathon Oil first began participating in the MS 150 in 2000, employees have raised $2 million and are consistently among the top 25 fundraising teams in the event.

 

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