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John Hancock Announces Elite Field for Boston

JOHN HANCOCK FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES 2012 BOSTON MARATHON
INTERNATIONAL ELITE FIELD

34 Elite
Athletes From Around The World Invited
For 116th Running On April 16

2012
Marks 27th Year Of John Hancock’s Landmark Sponsorship
Of Boston Marathon And 150th Anniversary Of Founding Of Company

 

BOSTON, MA, February 9, 2012‰ÛÓIn its 27th year as
principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today
announced the elite field for the 116th running of the Boston
Marathon on April 16. A complete field list follows.

Reigning
champions Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel will defend their titles, but will
be challenged by the fastest men’s and women’s fields ever assembled for the
Boston Marathon. With 31 contenders setting their personal best time in the
past two years, including eight men under 2:07 and ten women under 2:24, the
race will prove highly competitive.

Last year, Mutai ran an unmatched 2:03:02 World Best
on Boston’s certified course, without the aid of pacesetters, and then followed
that accomplishment with a course record win in New York City. Mutai is now the
fastest marathoner in history, and the only man to ever set course records at
Boston and New York in the same year.

Top contenders challenging Mutai include last year’s
third place finisher and 2010 New York City champion Gebre Gebremariam, 2010
Boston champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, 2011 Amsterdam and Rotterdam winner
Wilson Chebet, and 2011 Chicago second and third place finishers Wesley Korir
and Bernard Kipyego.

Young talent clipping their heels include 2011
Fukuoka champion Josphat Ndambiri, 2:05 marathoner Levy Matebo, 2011 Amsterdam
runner-up Laban Korir, 2012 Xiamen winner Peter Kamais, 2011 Dubai champion
David Barmasai, and half marathon specialist Mathew Kisorio.

Americans Antonio Vega and Jason Hartmann, Kenyans
Frankline Chepkwony and Dickson Chumba, and Netherlander Michel Butter are also
in the elite field.

On
the women’s side, the historic race in Boston has been decided over the past
four years by three seconds or less. Last year Caroline Kilel turned in another
close race as she traded 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.

-more-

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Chasing Kilel are Kenyan teammates Sharon Cherop and
Caroline Rotich. Cherop and Rotich ran with Kilel through the final miles last
year in Boston before finishing third and fourth respectively. They eagerly
await the rematch.

A strong Ethiopian contingent will also seek the
crown. Last year’s New York City winner Firehiwot Dado and runner up Buzunesh
Deba team up again and joining the pair is Aselefech Mergia, the Dubai winner
and newly crowned 2:19:31 national record holder. Also in the mix will be the talented
Mamitu Daska, who won Frankfurt last year, setting a new course record.

The Boston-New York and Kenyan-Ethiopian rivalries
should prove exciting, but working to break up the leaders will be a top
Russian team: Galina Bogomolova, Alevtina Biktimirova, Nadezdha Leonteva and
2010 Boston runner-up Tatyana Pushkareva will work together to return the
coveted title to Russia.

Additional talent includes 2006 Boston Marathon champion
Rita Jeptoo, Ashu Kasim, Agnes Kiprop, Georgina Rono, Diana Sigei, and Genet
Getaneh.

“For 27 years, John Hancock, as principal
sponsor, has honored its commitment to bring the world’s top runners to the
historic Boston Marathon to ensure that it remains among the world’s most
premier sporting events,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event
Marketing at John Hancock. “In celebration of our 150th anniversary as a
company, this year’s field is faster and more competitive than ever before.
We know these talented runners will provide the
millions of fans around the world with another spectacular race, and we are
counting down the days to April 16th.”

“One of the cornerstones of any top marathon in the world is the
elite field. Through the superb collaborative efforts with our long-standing
partner, John Hancock, and its recruitment excellence over the past 27 years, the
Boston Marathon has continued to thrive on fast times and a true competitive
nature,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “John Hancock’s sponsorship
of our elite runners in this year’s event will no doubt once again inspire all
those associated with the race. It is a model partnership that works
extraordinarily well for everyone.”

 

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
principle 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 125th 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$500 billion
(US$491 billion) as at December 31, 2011. 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, 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
johnhancock.com.

For
more information about the Boston Marathon:

www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon

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