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All-time Marathon records on Swiss soil during the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef

The running elite kept their promises this Sunday in Geneva during the Harmony Genève Marathon for Unicef.

  • Shumi Dechasa (BRN) broke the all-time record for the marathon distance on Swiss territory in 2h06'59 and at the same time that of the event

  • Maureen Chepkemoi (KEN) also set the best women's time on Swiss soil and now holds the event record in 2h24'19

  • The three-time Paralympic champion over 5,000 m and 10,000 m and marathon world record holder for the blind, Henry Wanyoike, leaves with his qualification for the Tokyo Paralympic Games

The organizing committee of the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef is proud to have been able to welcome and offer this race to these athletes who are cruelly lacking an event due to the pandemic.

The organizers had kept the secret before revealing an exceptional elite field last Thursday to honor this unique 16th edition. An exclusive time slot was reserved for them to compete for victory behind closed doors.

This Sunday, May 2 at 7 a.m., the iconic Geneva Jet d'Eau saw the men overcome the pressure and open the floodgates on a flat course, conducive to records. The women then set off onto the harbor a few minutes later, in the company of three-time Paralympic champion Henry Wanyoike and his guide.

The edition of all exploits

What will be remembered is the great victory of the Bahraini Shumi Dechasa who broke the record on Swiss territory for the Marathon by winning in 2h06'59, and at the same time the record for the event (which was 2:09:45).

As for the women's peloton, the feat is comparable, a new reference time on Swiss soil was achieved by the Kenyan Maureen Chepkemoi, who won in 2h24'19s, and also beat the record for the event (which was 2h29'11).

The Barheini Shumi Dechasa propelled in the last lap

Led by rigorous hares at a pace of 20km/h over the first 30 kilometers, the leading men initially remained grouped together. The athletes then took off one after the other to finally compete for victory at 4. Everything came down to the last lap where Barheini Shumi Dechasa raised his voice to take first place. He had already participated in 2019 and finished in second place. Beyond having shattered all records with a memorable time of 02:06:59, he left with his first victory in Switzerland. The second, the Kenyan Kennedy Cheboror finished his race in 2h07'42, then the Ethiopian Fikire Workneh completed the podium with a performance in 2h07'58.

A final neck and neck for the women

On the women's side, the competition was also very strong, notably between the two Kenyans Maureen Chepkemoi (2h24'19), Lucy Karimi (2h24'24) and the Ethiopian Tigist Memuye (2h24'23). They ran together from start to finish to finally decide between themselves in the last meters and in this game, it was the youngest Maureen Chepkemoi (KEN) who won.

Paralympic star qualified for Tokyo

Henry Wanyoike (Ken), three-time Paralympic track champion in Sydney and Athens, also marathon world record holder for the blind in 2h31'31, achieved a formidable feat at the age of 46 by obtaining his selection for the Games Tokyo Paralympics. “I am very happy to be able to participate for the first time in this marathon, which is very important for me, as an ambassador for Light for the World and thus qualify for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Particularly in this time of pandemic, such an event sends strong positive signals and represents hope and optimism”.

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A word from the director

Benjamin Chandelier, Director of the event declared “despite this particular context, a historic edition for professional athletes has just taken place and we will remember it with smiles on our faces. The elites now give way to popular challenges and I wish good luck to all participants. On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I congratulate each runner for their performance and all the running enthusiasts who followed the live sponsored by our partner Generali. This event could not take place without the mobilization of our volunteers. I would also like to thank the competent authorities and administrations of the Canton and the City of Geneva for their valuable help as well as our loyal partners for their support. »

Time for the popular challenge until May 30!

Beyond the elite race, the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef opened its popular challenge with an adapted version until Sunday May 30. Participants set off from the English Garden, individually, on one of the six events offered: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10km Run, 10km Walk, 10km Nordic Walk and 5km La Genevoise #LikeAGirl by Always which this year is also open to men . All challenges are open to wheelchair athletes. Each individual challenge can be carried out on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in May, at the time slots proposed by the organization and in compliance with the health rules in force on the day of the event.

More information on the website:

About the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef

The Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef is an international sporting event that brings together thousands of runners in Geneva each year. For years, the event has offered challenges for everyone: from the popular to the elite, from young people to the elderly, with or without disabilities! It is in particular this diversity, as well as its quality of organization, which has enabled it to obtain the World Athletics Label each year (the only marathon in Switzerland to obtain this label in recent years). In 2019, as the event celebrates its 15 years of creation and its 10 years of partnership with Unicef and Implenia, two new distinctions appear on the list; the Social Award presented by AIMS and the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group.


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