John Hancock Announces Entire Elite Field for Boston Marathon


Four Past Champions, Course Record Holder, Olympians
Lead Field of 29 Athletes for 113th Running

BOSTON, MA, March 12, 2009-In its 24th year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced its elite team of 29 marathon runners set for the 113th running of the race on Monday, April 20.
Headlining the field is four time champion and course record holder Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, defending women’s champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and former champions Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia and Timothy Cherigat of Kenya.

Challenging the champions are Olympians Ryan Hall, Brian Sell and Kara Goucher of America; Deriba Merga and Gashaw Asfaw of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya, as well as additional Olympians and winners of international marathons.

“John Hancock Financial once again has the honor and pleasure of bringing the world’s top runners to the Boston Marathon, one of the world’s premier road races,” said John D. DesPrez III, President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial. “We have an outstanding field led by our defending men’s and women’s champions, and filled with an outstanding group of runners who will provide them with a worthy challenge.

“As we continue to support this great race for the 24th year and fulfill our commitment to the city of Boston and surrounding communities, we are pleased that the Boston Marathon provides such a tremendous positive economic effect on the region, particularly during the challenging economic times that we face now. This race will generate a direct and indirect economic impact estimated at $95 million for Boston and the region.”

“Our event’s principal sponsor, John Hancock Financial, again has assembled a world-class field, providing exciting match-ups and compelling races,” said Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Guy Morse. “From Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot going for his fifth victory to U.S. Olympians Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher and Brian Sell carrying the mantle for the Americans, the 113th edition of the Boston Marathon promises first class, competitive races from start to finish and also features a field of 25,000 motivated participants.”

John Hancock’s 2009 Elite Athlete Field
113th Boston Marathon

Men’s Open Field

Ryan Hall, USA                    2:06:17 (London, 2008)
Evans Cheruiyot, Kenya            2:06:25 (Chicago, 2008)
Deriba Merga, Ethiopia            2:06:38 (London, 2008)
Daniel Rono, Kenya                2:06:58 (Rotterdam, 2008)
Benjamin Maiyo, Kenya             2:07:09 (Chicago, 2005)
Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, Kenya  2:07:14 (Boston, 2006) CR
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, Kenya   2:07:21 (Frankfurt, 2008) CR
Gudisa Shentema, Ethiopia          2:07:34 (Paris, 2008)
Gashaw Asfaw, Ethiopia             2:08:03 (Paris, 2006)
Stephen Kiogora, Kenya             2:08:24 (Frankfurt, 2008)
Solomon Molla, Ethiopia            2:08:46 (Seoul, 2008)
Timothy Cherigat, Kenya           2:09:34 (San Sebastian, ’02) CR
Lee Troop, Australia                  2:09:49 (Otsu City, 2003)
Elijah Sang, Kenya                    2:10:13 (Frankfurt, 2007)
Brian Sell, USA                        2:10:47 (Chicago, 2006)
Grigoriy Andreev, Russia          2:11:01 (Turin, 2008)
Iaroslav Musinschi, Moldova    2:11:43 (Istanbul, 2008)
Abebe Dinkesa, Ethiopia            Debut

Women’s Open Field

Galina Bogolomova, Russia             2:20:47 (Chicago, 2006) NR
Bezunesh Bekele, Ethiopia               2:23:09 (Dubai, 2008)
Salina Kosgei, Kenya                        2:23:22 (Berlin, 2006)
Dire Tune, Ethiopia                           2:24:40 (Houston, 2008)
Helena Kirop, Kenya                         2:25:01 (Berlin, 2008)
Lidiya Grigoryeva, Russia                 2:25:10 (Los Angeles, 2006) CR
Atsede Habtamu, Ethiopia                 2:25:17 (Dubai, 2009)
Kara Goucher, USA                         2:25:53 (New York City, 2008)
Alice Timbilili, Kenya                       2:26:45 (Paris, 2008)
Shuru Deriba, Ethiopia                      2:28:26 (Dubai, 2009)
Elva Dryer, USA                               2:31:48 (Chicago, 2006)

NR = National Record; CR = Course Record

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation
John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company 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 Cdn$405 billion (US$330 billion) as at December 31, 2008.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at
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

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