A full day of racing took place under glorious sunny skies at the Harmony Geneva Marathon for UNICEF, a race with a five-star certification rating from European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (6).
The five-star certification from European Athletics Running for All guarantees the participants that the organisers have met and fulfilled stringent checks on all aspects of the race from safety to organisation.
Setting off from Chêne-Bourg, 6200 half marathon-runners and four wheelchair athletes were the first to get underway. This was the biggest entry for the half marathon in race history thus far.
There was a special moment on the Pont du Mont-Blanc, as Julien Lyon and Sisay Yazew crossed the finish-line hand in hand to win the half marathon together in a time of 67:33. American runner Yiou Wang took the win in the women’s race in a time of 1:18:34.
Elites and amateur runners fulfilled their ambitions in the half marathon. Taking part for the third time, Italian runner Fabio Robbiati was delighted to achieve the goal he’d set out for himself.
“My race went really well,” he said. “I knew the course as I’ve done it twice before. The route is great, as it’s flat and then we descend into the city towards the end. I managed to run under 1:30 so I’m delighted. Next year I’ll be back to try and beat 1:25.”
Next to take to the roads were the 2300 participants in the full marathon. Starting with a beautiful loop through the Geneva countryside, the runners then came back into town and along the lake to reach the finish line on the Pont du Mont-Blanc under the shadow of the Jet d’Eau.
There was an East African double in the elite races as Kenya’s William Yegon retained his title in 2:12:10 and Ethiopia’s Fekadu Amelework won the women’s race in 2:38:05. While pleased to defend his title, Yegon lamented the increasing temperatures prevented him from lowering his course record.
“It was really warm today so it wasn’t possible to beat my course record,” said Yegon. “I didn’t lead the race for long, I overtook my friend just 2km from the finish. I’m really happy to defend my title here in Geneva.”
Alongside the marathon runners, 350 teams took part in the Relay Marathon uniting friends, family members and colleagues to run together. Team members ran between 4.1km and 10.1km to complete the full 42.195km distance.
A group of friends aged 20-22 running under the team name La Mif finished the race hand in hand to cross the finish line together.
“We’re just a bunch of friends who fancied a good day out running and a bit of a challenge. We managed to do quite a good time as well, we never expected to do so well,” they said after celebrating - and catching their breath after the finish line.
With over 18,000 runners registering from 113 countries, this year’s edition of the Geneva Marathon was the biggest to date.
“We are always delighted to see a smile on our runners’ faces as they take part in their race of choice. On behalf of the entire organisation committee, I want congratulate all the runners and spectators who attended this weekend,” said race director Benjamin Chandelier.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong, recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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