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John Hancock Announces Return of Boston Marathon Champions

BOSTON, MA, December, 18,
2012‰ÛÓJohn Hancock Financial today announced the return of 2012 Boston Marathon
champions Sharon Cherop and Wesley Korir of Kenya for the 117th
running of the race on April 15.

Wesley Korir ran the smartest race of his life in
winning the 116th 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
coursed 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

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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 15th.”

“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 28th 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 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$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.

 

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