John Hancock Announces Return Of Defending Champions To 2013 Boston Marathon

 John Hancock Announces Return Of Defending Champions To 2013 Boston Marathon

-- Sharon Cherop And Wesley Korir Set To Defend Titles On April 15

-- 2013 Marks 28th Year Of John Hancock's Sponsorship Of The Boston Marathon

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Dec. 18, 2012

BOSTON, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --John Hancock Financial today announced
the return of 2012 Boston Marathon champions Sharon Cherop and Wesley Korir of
Kenya for the 117^th running of the race on April 15.

Wesley Korir ran the smartest race of his life in winning the 116^th Boston
Marathon. Deftly handling blistering heat that reached a high of 85F, Korir
patiently stayed connected to the leaders of the fastest men's field ever
assembled. Heading into the Newton hills, he resisted the surges of
front-runners Geoffrey Mutai and Levy Matebo, and instead ran within himself
and focused on strategy. Singing out loud and staying hydrated, Korir found
inspiration to pass first one heat-fatigued runner and then the next. He
deliberately moved from sixth place at mile 20, to second at mile 24, to
undisputed champion at the finish (2:12:40). Kenyans Levy Matebo and Bernard
Kipyego and American Jason Hartmann finished second through fourth
respectively.

"Winning the Boston Marathon was the biggest accomplishment of my life and the
win placed me in a distinguished group of champions who are legendary," said
Korir who is a permanent U.S. resident of Louisville, Kentucky. "The entire
world recognizes and respects the Boston Marathon, and I am proudly a Boston
Marathon champion forever." Korir said 2013 marks his fifth year of marathon
running and his main goal for the year is to defend his Boston title. He is a
two-time marathon winner in Los Angeles and was runner up in Chicago in 2011.

Boston's 2012 women's race was equally as strategic as Sharon Cherop's
experience on the course proved to be the deciding factor. In her 2011 Boston
debut, Cherop ran in sync with countrywoman Caroline Kilel and American
Desiree Davila until the final meters, but could not keep pace with the duo
and was denied the win by six seconds and the runner-up spot by four seconds.
This year, Cherop made amends and after running side by side with countrywoman
Jemima Sumgong over the final miles, she put in a crushing surge at the
home-stretch corner of Hereford and Boylston. Sumgong was unable to respond
and Cherop reached the tape first in 2:31:50, just two seconds ahead of her
rival. The close finish marked the fifth consecutive year the women's race has
been decided by three seconds or less. Kenyan Georgina Rono finished third and
was followed by Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado, the 2011 New York City champion.

"I will be in Boston to try to win again and perform at my best level," said
Cherop. "I know that there are some of the best athletes in the world
competing in Boston in 2013, but I'll be ready for the big race. The course is
very hard because there are a lot of hills and you are running without pacers,
but I like this course because it's also making a natural selection among the
athletes." Cherop is past marathon champion in Toronto and Hamburg, and was
the bronze medalist at the IAAF World Championships Marathon in 2011.

"As John Hancock closes in on 30 years of sponsorship of the Boston Marathon,
we are thrilled to have our defending champions returning for the 2013 race,"
said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock.
"Both Wesley and Sharon held off an excellent field in 2012 and will face
another one this year as we once again honor our commitment to bring the
world's top runners to the race. Marathon Monday will be here before you know
it and we fully expect millions of spectators and viewers will experience yet
another thrilling race on April 15^th."

"It is with great pride that we welcome back Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop to
defend their titles at this year's Boston Marathon," said Tom Grilk, Boston
Athletic Association Executive Director. "Their insightful and tactical races
in challenging conditions last year will be remembered for years to come as
part of Boston's rich tradition of excellence. Thanks to John Hancock
Financial Services, both of these great champions have the opportunity to add
another Boston Marathon win to their distinguished careers."

The 2013 Boston Marathon marks the 28^th year of John Hancock's landmark
sponsorship of the legendary race. For additional information about the elite
athlete program and sponsorship, please visit
www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html or follow us
@jhboston26 on Twitter.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation
John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading
Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia,
Canada and the United States. In 2012, John Hancock celebrates 150 years of
serving clients across the United States, while Manulife celebrates its 125^th
anniversary. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia,
and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, Manulife Financial
Corporation offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products
and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees,
agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife Financial
and its subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30,
2012. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet
at manulife.com.
The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the
largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers a broad range
of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, fixed
products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college
savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about
John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com, and on Facebook, Twitter,
Linkedin and YouTube.

SOURCE John Hancock Financial

Website: http://www.johnhancock.com
Contact: Brian Carmichael, +1-617-663-4748, bcarmichael@jhancock.com
 
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