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Defending Champions Mutai, Kilel Back for 116th Boston

BOSTON, MA, January, 5, 2012‰ÛÓJohn Hancock Financial today announced the return of
2011 Boston Marathon champions Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel of Kenya for
the 116th running of the race on April 16.
 
 

Geoffrey Mutai ran the
fastest marathon in history at last year’s race, prevailing against a highly
competitive field without the aid of pacesetters. In a thrilling duel to the
finish, Mutai outkicked his teammate Moses Mosop in the final meters to break
the tape in a World’s Best 2:03:02 to Mosop’s 2:03:06. Never before in the
sport had two men run the 26.2-mile distance with such speed.

Mutai led eight John Hancock sponsored elite men under the 2:08 barrier over
one of the world’s most difficult courses. He credited American Ryan Hall for
pushing the pace and the lead pack throughout the historic run. Hall set a new
American best and course record with his 2:04:58, fourth-place finish.

“I want to return to Boston to defend my title,” said Mutai. “I very much liked
the race in 2011, because I made the best time ever run in the marathon.”  After
his Boston win, Mutai continued to break barriers as he notched a 2:05:06
course record this past fall in New York City. With that double crown, he
became the first man in history to break course records in Boston and New York
City in the same year.

Boston’s 2011 women’s race was equally enthralling as fans from around the
world saw Caroline Kilel trade the lead with American Desiree Davila several
times down the finishing stretch of Boylston Street. Kilel ultimately triumphed
by two seconds over Davila for the 2:22:36 win, before collapsing in
exhaustion. The close finish marked the fourth consecutive year the women’s
race in Boston had been decided by three seconds or less.  

“I have chosen the Boston Marathon because, of course, I had a good experience
by winning in 2011,” said Kilel. “I hope I can do the same this year.” With
another podium finish, Kilel hopes to be named to the 2012 Kenyan Olympic
Marathon Team.

Kilel and Davila now respectively hold the fourth and fifth fastest times ever
run on the Boston course. Davila also claimed the U.S. course record of
2:22:38, which eclipsed Joan Benoit Samuelson’s 1983 record of 2:22:43.

 “Throughout our more than quarter century sponsorship of the Boston
Marathon, John Hancock has each year honored its commitment to bring the
world’s top runners to the race, and knowing the defending champions will
return in 2012 is an excellent start to the new year,” said Rob Friedman, head
of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. “We are counting down the
days to April 16th and expect to provide
millions of spectators and viewers with yet another thrilling contest.”

“We are delighted to have
Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel returning to defend their titles at this
year’s event,” said Tom Grilk, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic
Association. “After their magnificent performances in 2011 they have become
synonymous with excellence in running and racing in Boston. Now, thanks to John
Hancock Financial Services, both Mutai and Kilel have the opportunity to come
back in April and attempt to add to their list of outstanding performances.”

The 2012 Boston Marathon marks the 27th year of John Hancock’s
landmark sponsorship of the legendary race and also the 150th
anniversary of the founding of the Company. For additional information about
the sponsorship and elite athlete program, please visit www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html
or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.

 

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