John Hancock Financial Announces 2013 Boston Marathon International Elite Field

  John Hancock Financial Announces 2013 Boston Marathon International Elite
                                    Field

40 Elite Athletes From 14 Countries Invited For 117th Running on April 15

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Jan. 15, 2013

BOSTON, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --In its 28^th year as principal sponsor
of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field
for the 117^th running of the Boston Marathon on April 15. A complete field
list follows.

Reigning champions Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, both of Kenya, return to
defend their titles, but will be fiercely challenged by a talented
international field of Olympians, World Marathon Majors champions of Chicago,
New York City and Boston, and multiple global marathon winners of Amsterdam,
Barcelona, Brussels, Cologne, Daegu, Dubai, Eindhoven, Frankfurt,
Johannesburg, Hamburg, Houston, Istanbul, Krakow, Los Angeles, Milan, Rome,
St. Paul, Soweto, Toronto, Turin and the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Last year Korir and Cherop battled not only one of the strongest fields ever
assembled, but also blistering race day temperatures topping 85F. Korir
prevailed over countryman Levy Matebo in the final mile and Cherop used past
experience to surge on the final turn to win the women's race by two seconds.

Watch 2012 Boston Marathon Highlights: http://youtu.be/0l1HViI5wYM

Challenging Korir for the coveted laurel wreath this year is a fast group of
men including 2011 Boston runner-up and 2011 Chicago champion Moses Mosop of
Kenya. Mosop's 2:03:06 Boston performance was the second-fastest time ever run
over the marathon distance. Joining him in the chase is two-time Olympian and
2010 New York City winner Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia. Gebremariam has
experience on the course, finishing third in 2011 in 2:04:53. Matebo has also
committed to return to Boston to improve upon his second place finish last
year and brings additional credentials as marathon champion in Barcelona and
Brussels.

American Ryan Hall, who owns the 2:04:58 U.S. course record in Boston, and
countryman Meb Keflezighi, past New York City winner and Olympic silver
medalist, will work together to bring back a title for the U.S. Both Hall and
Keflezighi have finished as high as third in Boston.

Former Boston champion and former course-record-holder Robert Kiprono
Cheruiyot of Kenya also returns to the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team and
will be joined by the 2012 Eindhoven course-record-holder Dickson Chumba, also
of Kenya. Additional talent from Ethiopia includes 2011 Los Angeles champion
and course-record-holder Markos Geneti, 2012 Paris and Mumbai runner-up Raji
Assefa and the 2012 Hamburg and 2011 Toronto winner Shami Abdullah Dawit.

Guor Marial from South Sudan is also in the field. Marial was granted refugee
status in the U.S. after fleeing Sudan during the Civil War. Eight of his
brothers and sisters were killed in the conflict. Marial, now a U.S. resident,
went to high school in Concord, New Hampshire, and college at Iowa State.
After  qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, but not yet having a country to run
for, the International Olympic Committee honored him with entry to participate
under the Olympic Flag.

Also in contention for the crown are four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman
who will make his debut on the Boston course as will Australian Olympian
Jeffrey Hunt and Canadians Robin Watson and two-time Olympian Eric Gillis.

Americans Jason Hartmann and Fernando Cabada are also contenders. Hartmann
finished fourth last year and Cabada holds the American record in the 25K.
Joining them to round out the deep field is half marathon specialist Lucas
Rotich of Kenya, who holds a 59:44 half-marathon best and countryman Micah
Kogo, a 59:07 half-marathoner, 10,000m Beijing bronze medalist, and former 10K
world-record-holder (27:01).

Headlining the women's field are defending Boston Marathon champion Sharon
Cherop of Kenya, Dubai's two-time winner and 2:19:31 course-record-holder
Aselefech Medessa Mergia of Ethiopia and 2012 World Half-Marathon champion and
Amsterdam's 2:21:09 course-record-holder Meseret Hailu Debele of Ethiopia.
Past Boston champion and 2012 Chicago runner-up Rita Jeptoo of Kenya returns,
as does Mexican national-record-holder Mada Perez.

Top Olympians Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko of the Ukraine and Americans Shalane
Flanagan and Kara Goucher will present a strong challenge. Gamera-Shmyrko
placed fifth at the London Olympic Marathon and Flanagan and Goucher finished
tenth and eleventh respectively. Flanagan is a three-time Olympian, winning
the bronze medal in the 10,000m in Beijing, and finished runner-up in her
marathon debut in New York City before winning the U.S. Olympic Trials
Marathon. Goucher has experience on the Boston course finishing as high as
third in 2009 and fifth in 2011.

Also focused on the podium are Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia, who is past champion
of Frankfurt, Houston, and Dubai; Alemita Abera Begna of Ethiopia, champion of
Houston, Daegu and Istanbul; three-time Olympian Sabrina Mockenhaupt of
Germany, champion of Frankfurt and two-time winner of Cologne and two-time
Olympian Rene Kalmer of South Africa, who is the past marathon champion of
Soweto and Johannesburg.

Additional talent includes Diana Chepkemoi Sigei of Kenya, Yolanda Caballero
of Colombia, and Olympians Karolina Jarzynska of Poland, Ana Dulce Felix of
Portugal, and Burundi national-record-holder Diane Nukuri-Johnson. Additional
Americans on the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team include Serena Burla,
Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce and Alissa McKaig.

The 2013 Boston Marathon marks the 28^th year of John Hancock's landmark
sponsorship of the race. For additional information about the John Hancock
Elite Athlete Team 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.

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.

2013 John Hancock Elite Athlete Team
117th Boston Marathon April 15, 2013
MEN                               Personal Best Time           Country
Moses Mosop                       2:03:06 (Boston, 2011)       Kenya
Gebregziabher "Gebre" Gebremariam 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011)       Ethiopia
Markos Geneti                     2:04:54 (Dubai, 2012)        Ethiopia
Ryan Hall                         2:04:58 (Boston, 2011)       USA
Levy Matebo                       2:05:16 (Frankfurt, 2011)    Kenya
Shami Abdullah Dawit              2:05:42 (Dubai, 2012)        Ethiopia
Dickson Chumba                    2:05:46 (Eindhoven, 2012) CR Kenya
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot          2:05:52 (Boston, 2010)       Kenya
Wesley Korir                      2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012)      Kenya
Raji Assefa                       2:06:24 (Paris, 2012)        Ethiopia
Abdihakem "Abdi" Abdirahman       2:08:56 (Chicago, 2006)      USA
Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi        2:09:08 (Houston, 2012)      USA
Jeffrey Hunt                      2:11:00 (Beppu, 2010)        Australia
Jason Hartmann                    2:11:06 (Chicago, 2010)      USA
Eric Gillis                       2:11:28 (Toronto, 2011)      Canada
Fernando Cabada                   2:11:53 (Houston, 2012)      USA
Guor Marial                       2:12:55 (San Diego, 2012) NR South Sudan
Robin Watson                      2:13:37 (Rotterdam, 2012)    Canada
Micah Kogo                        59:07 (South Shields, 2012)  Kenya
Lucas Rotich                      59:44 (Den Haag, 2011)       Kenya
WOMEN                             Personal Best Time           Country
Aselefech Medessa Mergia          2:19:31 (Dubai, 2012) CR     Ethiopia
Meseret Hailu Debele              2:21:09 (Amsterdam, 2012) CR Ethiopia
Mamitu Daska                      2:21:59 (Frankfurt, 2011)    Ethiopia
Rita Jeptoo                       2:22:04 (Chicago, 2012)      Kenya
Sharon Cherop                     2:22:39 (Dubai, 2012)        Kenya
Madai Perez                       2:22:59 (Chicago, 2006) NR   Mexico
Alemita Abera Begna               2:23:14 (Houston, 2012)      Ethiopia
Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko            2:24:32 (London, 2012)       Ukraine
Kara Goucher                      2:24:52 (Boston, 2011)       USA
Shalane Flanagan                  2:25:38 (Houston, 2012)      USA
Ana Dulce Felix                   2:25:40 (NYC, 2011)          Portugal
Yolanda Caballero                 2:26:17 (Boston, 2011)       Colombia
Sabrina Mockenhaupt               2:26:21 (Berlin, 2010)       Germany
Diana Chepkemoi Sigei             2:26:53 (Dubai, 2011)        Kenya
Karolina Jarzynska                2:27:16 (Yokohama, 2011)     Poland
Serena Burla                      2:28:27 (Seoul, 2012)        USA
Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce         2:29:35 (Houston, 2011)      USA
Rene Kalmer                       2:29:59 (Yokohama, 2011)     RSA
Diane Nukuri-Johnson              2:30:13 (London, 2012) NR    Burundi
Alissa McKaig                     2:31:56 (Houston, 2012)      USA
NR=National Record                CR=Course Record

SOURCE John Hancock Financial

Website: http://www.jhancock.com
Contact: Brian Carmichael, +1-617-663-4748, bcarmichael@jhancock.com
 
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.