John Hancock Financial Announces 2011 Boston Marathon International Elite Field

February 10, 2011

BOSTON, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In its 26(th) year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field for the 115(th) running of the Boston Marathon on April 18. A complete field list follows.

Reigning champions Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot and Teyba Erkesso will defend their titles, but will be fiercely challenged by one of the fastest and deepest men’s and women’s fields ever assembled for the Boston Marathon.

Cheruiyot ran a stunning 2:05:52 course record last year over the difficult Boston course. In April he will face top contenders that include past and present marathon champions of New York City, Chicago, Seoul, Amsterdam, Houston, Xiamen, Torino, Eindhoven, Phoenix, Monaco, Gyeongju, Milan and Nairobi.

Geoffrey Mutai leads the line-up as the second fastest man in the world last year with a 2:04:55 best. Joining him are 2:06 men including top American Ryan Hall, Gilbert Yegon, Tadese Tola, Evans Cheruiyot and 2010 Seoul course record holder Sylvester Teimet.

Challenging this group are the 2010 New York City champion Gebregziabher Gebremariam, the newly crowned Houston course record holder Bekana Daba and 2010 Boston runner-up Tekeste Kebede.

International newcomers to the course include Philip Sanga, Feleke Cherkos, Deressa Edae, Stephen Kibiwot, Peter Kamais and 2011 Xiamen winner Robert Kipchumba. Returning to Boston are Moses Kigen Kipkosgei, Shadrack Kiplagat and American talent Antonio Vega. Irish Olympian Alistair Cragg and Kenyan Moses Mosop will make their marathon debuts.

On the women’s side, the historic race in Boston has been decided over the past three years by three seconds or less. Last year Teyba Erkesso maintained a three second lead to the finish as she held off a charging Tatyana Pushkareva. This year’s race likely will prove just as competitive with 16 women in the field holding times of 2:26:20 or better.

Past champions Salina Kosgei, Dire Tune and four-time winner Catherine Ndereba join Erkesso and Pushkareva. The experienced trio will contest a highly competitive race that includes 2010 international marathon champions, top Americans and talented newcomers.

Chasing the Boston champions are 2010 international marathon winners including Sharon Cherop, who edged Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene to win Toronto by one second, and Caroline Kilel, who won Frankfurt after a duel with Dire Tune. Carpi champion Hellen Mugo is on the team and she joins Amsterdam winner Alice Timbilili.

Challenging the group are top Americans Kara Goucher, who finished third in Boston in 2009, and Desiree Davila, the fastest American of 2010 with her fourth place finish in Chicago, and Olympian Blake Russell. International competitors include New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, former Russian national record holder Galina Bogomolova and young talent Merima Mohammed from Ethiopia.

Werknesh Kidane and Florence Kiplagat also bring significant credentials to the race. Kidane is a multiple junior and senior World Cross Country champion (2 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze) and Kiplagat, who will make her marathon debut, is a World Half Marathon and World Cross Country champion. Both women are married to men in the field: Kidane is married to Gebregziabher Gebremariam and Kiplagat is married to Moses Mosop.

Additional talent includes Silvia Skvortsova, Teyba Naser, Woynishet Girma and Yuliya Ruban.

“Throughout our more than two decade-long sponsorship of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock has each year honored its commitment to bring the world’s top runners to the race and ensure that the historic Boston Marathon remains among the world’s most premier sporting events,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. “This year’s field once again is filled with outstanding runners who no doubt will provide the millions of spectators and viewers with yet another thrilling contest. We are counting down the days to April 18(th).”

“Competitive excellence has been the touchstone for the Boston Marathon for over a century, both among our full field of runners and the magnificent field of professional runners from around the world recruited by John Hancock,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “John Hancock Financial’s sponsorship of our premier event over the last 26 years — including support of professional marathoners — has resulted in pre-race excitement, competitive races, and historic performances.”

    John Hancock's 2011 Elite Boston Marathon Field

    Men's Open Field             Country       Personal Best

    Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot     Kenya         2:05:52 (Boston, 2010) CR
    Geoffrey Mutai               Kenya         2:04:55 (Rotterdam, 2010)
    Ryan Hall                    USA           2:06:17 (London, 2008)
    Gilbert Yegon                Kenya         2:06:18 (Amsterdam, 2009)
    Evans Cheruiyot              Kenya         2:06:25 (Chicago, 2008)
    Tadese Tola                  Ethiopia      2:06:31 (Frankfurt, 2010)
    Sylvester Teimet             Kenya         2:06:49 (Seoul, 2010) CR
    Bekana Daba                  Ethiopia      2:07:04 (Houston, 2011) CR
    Philip Kimutai Sanga         Kenya         2:07:11 (Frankfurt, 2010)
    Shadrack Kiplagat            Kenya         2:07:53 (Amsterdam, 2007)
    Tekeste Kebede               Ethiopia      2:07:23 (Boston, 2010)
    Feleke Abreham Cherkos       Ethiopia      2:07:29 (Amsterdam, 2010)
    Deressa Chimsa Edae          Ethiopia      2:07:54 (Dubai, 2009)
    Stephen Kibiwot              Kenya         2:07:54 (Praha, 2009)
    Robert Kipchumba             Kenya         2:08:07 (Xiamen, 2011) CR
    Gebregziabher Gebremariam    Ethiopia      2:08:14 (New York City 2010)
    Moses Kigen Kipkosgei        Kenya         2:10:12 (Nairobi, 2009) CR
    Antonio Vega                 USA           2:13:47 (Boston, 2010)
    Peter Kamais                 Kenya         2:14:58 (New York City, 2010)
    Alistair Cragg               Ireland       Debut
    Moses Mosop                  Kenya         Debut

    John Hancock's 2011 Elite Boston Marathon Field

    Women's Open Field           Country       Personal Best

    Teyba Erkesso                Ethiopia      2:23:53 (Houston, 2010) CR
    Galina Bogomolova            Russia        2:20:47 (Chicago, 2006)
    Sharon Cherop                Kenya         2:22:43 (Toronto, 2010) CR
    Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene         Ethiopia      2:22:44 (Toronto, 2010)
    Merima Mohammed              Ethiopia      2:23:06 (Toronto, 2010)
    Salina Kosgei                Kenya         2:23:22 (Berlin, 2006)
    Caroline Kilel               Kenya         2:23:25 (Frankfurt, 2010)
    Dire Tune                    Ethiopia      2:23:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
    Alice Timbilili              Kenya         2:25:03 (Amsterdam, 2010)
    Kim Smith                    New Zealand   2:25:21 (London, 2010)
    Kara Goucher                 USA           2:25:52 (New York, 2010)
    Tatyana Pushkareva           Russia        2:26:14 (Boston, 2010)
    Desiree Davila               USA           2:26:20 (Chicago, 2010)
    Teyba Naser                  Ethiopia      2:26:20 (Los Angeles, 2010)
    Silvia Skvortsova            Russia        2:26:24 (Berlin, 2009)
    Werknesh Kidane              Ethiopia      2:27:15 (Dubai, 2011)
    Hellen Mugo                  Kenya         2:27:16 (Carpi, 2010)
    Yuliya Ruban                 Ukraine       2:27:44 (Frankfurt, 2010)
    Woynishet Girma              Ethiopia      2:27:51 (Amsterdam, 2010)
    Blake Russell                USA           2:29:10 (Chicago, 2005)
    Florence Kiplagat            Kenya         Debut

    NR = National Record
    CR = Course Record

For more information about the Boston Marathon:

www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/index.html Twitter @JHFS_Boston26

www.baa.org Twitter @B_A_A

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. 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. For more than 120 years, clients have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$475 billion (US$478 billion) as at December 31, 2010.

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 www.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, fixed and variable 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 www.johnhancock.com.

SOURCE John Hancock Financial

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