Thousands of runners are set to hit the streets of Geneva this weekend
The 15th edition of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef kicked-off yesterday with the pre-race press conference. The event will take place this weekend on May 11th and 12th, with the event village opening from Friday 10th in the Jardins Anglais to welcome the passionate runners come from all across the globe for this incredible race.
In total, over 18,300 runners, a record for the event, will take to the start lines of the various race formats on offer. Online registrations close tonight (Wednesday 8th) at midnight but will still be possible onsite on Friday 10th from 10am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
Event Director, Benjamin Chandelier introduced the 15th edition at the press conference, including its many new features such as the finish line for the Saturday races moving to the Quai Gustave Ador and the new Parent and Child race. The new finish line location frees up space in the event village and will reduce congestion around the finish line, and the new race format is the perfect opportunity for parents to introduce their little ones (from the age of 3) to the world of running.
A number of people took turns speaking at the press conference, including Sami Kanaan, the Mayor of Geneva, who took the time to remind everyone that Geneva is a city of sport and that regular physical activity is key to staying healthy. He underlined the investment of the city to ensure sport is accessible to all and admired the number of different race formats that are on offer at the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef.
A number of partners were also present and each expressed their reasons and motivation for being involved with the organisation of the event.
Title sponsor of the event, Harmony, represented by Guillaume Charles, took the opportunity to offer a few tips and some advice for the ideal preparation for the event in their sports centres thanks to the support by their professional coaches. Doctor Souheil Sayegh, of Groupe La Tour a new official partner for this 15th edition, also indicated the importance of a regular medical check-up for the health of runners and participants.
This 15th edition is also marked by two important anniversaries. Both UNICEF, official charity partners, and Implenia, official partners, are celebrating their 10th year of involvement with the event and they expressed their satisfaction and pride during the press conference.
Also present at the Press Conference was honorary guest, Rima Wates (SGP) who is nicknamed the “Tyre Lady”. She will take part in the Marathon on Sunday for a good cause, as she will be dragging a 7kg tyre on a rope to raise awareness of the necessity of recycling plastic. This is a cause that is close to the heart for the organisers of the event, who have been working to reduce the carbon footprint of the event in recent years to increase the sustainability of the event.
The elite start list was also revealed, and is headlined by the defending champion William Yegon of Kenya. Headlining the women’s race is another defending champion, Fikadu Amelework of Ethiopia. For the Half Marathon the race promises to be a tough battle for both the men and women, with names such as Tesfaye Felfele, Alexandre Roch, Mohammed Boulama, Aline Camboulives and Victoria Crawford lining up on the start line.
Finally, to officially launch the start of this 15th edition of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, Event Director Benjamin Chandelier and Jean-Marc Guichanrd, president of the Geneva Marathon association took turns to wish everyone a great race whilst also reminding them to enjoy the beautiful courses.
• 15th edition
• 8 race formats over 2 days
• 18’305 registered runners
• 2’400 Marathon runners
• 300 relay teams (1800 participants)
• 6’000 Half-Marathon runners
• 5 wheelchair athletes
• 1’500 runners for the La Genevoise #LikeAGirl by Always
• 1’500 Juniors
• 3’400 10 km runners
• 1’500 Walking participants
• 200 Nordic Walking participants
• Over 1’000 volunteers
• 77% first time participants
• 52% men and 48% women
• 113 countries represented: Switzerland, France, UK, Italy, Spain, USA, Brazil, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, India, Japan, Morroco
• Top 3 nationalities: Switzerland, France et England
• Top 3 cantons: Genève, Vaud and Valais
• Youngest: 3 years old