A record-breaking weekend on all fronts
Winner of the 2017 Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, William Yegon of Kenya set a new course record en-route to victory, completing the 42.195km in a blistering 2h10m31s. Lowering the course record by 29 seconds from the time set by his compatriot Simon Mukun in 2014. William Yegon made the difference in the second half the race, after running side by side with five other athletes through the halfway point.
A couple minutes after crossing the finish line, having caught his breath, race winner William Yegon expressed his delight at the result “I’m really happy to have won here, and to have set a new course record in the process. I would have loved to go under 2h10m, maybe next year!” Fellow Kenyans Eliud Magut (2h11m37s) and Duncan Maiyo (2h14m04s) rounded out the podium.
The women’s race was a much closer run affair. In the end it was Megersa Mogu of Ethiopia who took the win in 2h40m47s, followed closely by Ruth Wanjiru (2h41m09) and two-time winner Jane Kiptoo (2h41m15s), both from Kenya.
Thousands of spectators gathered near the finish line on the iconic Pont du Mont-Blanc this morning to support the runners in the final exhausting stretch of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef.
Runners from the front to the back of the field were spurred on by the noise along the finishing straight as the crowds welcomed them home, after having raced through the beautiful countryside of Geneva.
Finishing his 76th marathon on the Pont du Mont Blanc, Belgian runner Dirk van Thuyne was jumping for joy after the finish line. “I’m ecstatic, I finished in under 3 hours and set a new personal best. I managed to visit the city last night as well, so it’s a perfect weekend of tourism and running in a beautiful city!”
Within the field of Marathon runners, 350 teams of colleagues, friends and families joined forces to complete the distance in a series of relay legs of between 4.1km and 10.1km. Enjoying the festive atmosphere, they were able to take part in the Marathon and encourage the runners along the way at each of the relay points.
Having travelled across the country from Zurich for the Half-Marathon, Kevin De Verteuil, originally from Trinidad and Tobago was made up with his first running experience in Geneva. “The course along the lake is stunning! To start with you run through the vineyards and then there’s a DJ spurring you on before the descent, which made for an awesome atmosphere, and the icing on the cake was a new personal best, seven minutes faster than my last race!”
Earlier this morning, 6,000 Half-Marathon runners and four wheelchair athletes set off from Chêne-Bourg on the 21,097km course snaking through the city centre and into countryside before descending along the lakeside to finish on the Pont du Mont Blanc.
Swiss runner Sergio Dias took the win in 1h06m13s for the men, and Aline Camboulives stood atop the podium in the women’s race, having completed the 21.097km in 1h18m31s.
Another result of note on the half marathon was the new world record for the 85+ age category by British runner Deidre Larkin in a time of 2h05m13s.
In the wheelchair category, it was Swiss athlete Emmanuelle Domon who took the win in 1h37m54s ahead of her two male competitors Simon Farre and Gabriel Thullen.
Above and beyond setting a new course record on the Marathon distance, the 2017 edition was also record-setting with the number of participants eclipsing previous records and totalling 17,404 runners and walkers across the eight-race format. The popularity of the event was such that the shorter distance races on Saturday were as busy as the Sunday races.
Event director, Benjamin Chandelier expressed his delight this afternoon. “This edition of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef has undoubtedly been a memorable one for everyone. On top of the multiple records being set, we also enjoyed a great atmosphere in the Jardin Anglais and along the race courses across all three days. Each and every one of the runners and walkers who took part can be extremely proud of their achievements,” he said.
Chandelier added: “On behalf of the entire organising committee I would like to congratulate everyone on their races and thank both the spectators who supported the athletes and the 1,000 volunteers without whom this event would not be possible.”
“I would also like to extend my thanks to the local authorities, the city and the canton of Geneva and the town of Chêne-Bourg for their unwavering support throughout the build-up and running of the event. Finally a huge thank you also goes to all of the towns that the race passes through as well as to all of our partners and sponsors for their support.”
More than 3000 « Extra Milers » for a good cause
For the first time in the history of the event, over 3000 runners from the Sunday races went that extra step after their race for a great cause. Digging deep into their energy reserves, they covered an extra 600m after having crossed the finish line on the Pont du Mont Blanc.
By taking part in the Unicef Extra Mile, they all demonstrated their willingness to contribute to a better world; the Montblanc group will be rewarding their efforts by donating CHF 30,000 to Unicef, official charity partner of the event.
Since 2010, the funds collected by runners have allowed Unicef projects to install 483 hydraulic pumps in developing countries throughout the world. All the funds donated as part of the Unicef Extra Mile initiative will go towards these same projects, and provide clean drinking water for children and their parents alike.
After completing his race, Jean-Francois Trably did not hesitate to go the Extra Mile for Unicef, after having helped his daughter Laurianne to complete her second ever half-marathon in under two hours. “We achieved our goal, finishing in 1h55m, so now it’s time to do something for the less fortunate and complete the Unicef Extra Mile. I’ve been running the Half or the Marathon for Unicef here in Geneva for years, so it feels great to do that little bit extra!”
1. YEGON William (KEN) – 2:10:31
2. MAGUT Eliud (KEN) – 02:11:37
3. MAIYO Duncan (KEN) – 02:14:04
1. MOGU Megersa (ETH) – 02:40:47
2. WANJIRU Ruth (KEN) – 02:41:09
3. KIPTOO Jane (KEN) – 02:41:15
1. DIAS Sergio (SUI) – 01:06:13
2. ZEZZAMZEMI Ahmed (MAR) – 01:08:32
3. ROCH Alexandre (SUI) – 01:08:53
1. CAMBOULIVES Aline (FRA) – 01:18:31
2. JENNY Inge (SUI) – 01:21:51
3. CHABBEY Élise (SUI) – 01:21:52
1. DOMON Emmanuelle (SUI) - 01:37:54
2. FARRE Simon (FRA) - 01:48:05
3. THULLEN Gabriel (SUI) - 02:20:01
8 races over two days
17,404 runners expected
2,300 Marathon runners
350 Relay teams of 4 to 6 people, 1,800 persons
6,000 participating in the Half-Marathon
4 Wheelchair competitors
1,400 women running the Genevoise #LIKEAGIRL by Always
1,300 running in the Junior Races
3,200 running the 10km race
1,200 participating in the 10km walk
200 participating in the 10km Nordic walk
51% Men, 49% Women
55% running in Geneva for the first time
113 Nationalities represented, including runners from Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, USA, Brazil, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, India, Japan and Morocco.
Top 3 cantons: Geneva, Vaud and Valais
Youngest participant: 7-years-old
Oldest participant: 86-years-old
13 towns visited on the course
18 pace setters: 8 on Marathon, 6 on the Half-Marathon, 4 on the 10km