FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Carmichael
Top Field to Challenge Defending Champions at 2007 Boston Marathon
2005 men's champion Hailu Negussie and past runners-up return for
111th edition on April 16
BOSTON - (February 22, 2007) - John Hancock Financial Services has
announced that defending Boston Marathon champions Robert Kipkoech
Cheruiyot and Rita Jeptoo will face an elite group of athletes with a depth
of experience on the challenging course during the 111th running of the
race on Monday, April 16.
The top contenders in the men's group include Hailu Negussie of Ethiopia,
the men's 2005 champion and several past runners-up.
Negussie will lead the charge having won the race in 2005, when he brought
the title back to Ethiopia after a 16-year hiatus dominated by Kenyan wins.
Accepting the opportunity to challenge Cheruiyot's course record of 2
hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds, Negussie said, "Once again I am eager and
happy to run in the Boston Marathon, among the greatest marathons in the
world and my favorite place." One of his country's most promising
marathoners, Negussie has also won the Hofu Marathon in Japan twice and the
Xiamen International Marathon in China.
Joining Negussie on the John Hancock elite team are 2006 runner-up Benjamin
Maiyo and 2004 runner-up Robert Cheboror, both of Kenya. Maiyo is highly
motivated to notch his first career win at Boston this year having also
finished second at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and second in Los
Angeles in 2005. Cheboror will pose a threat returning to the race as one
of the fastest marathoners of all-time with a 2:06:23 win in Amsterdam
2004. Last year, he finished second in Hamburg and fifth in Chicago.
Another top contender with Boston experience is Stephen Kiogora who will
challenge the runners-up as will 2005 real,- Berlin Marathon champion
Philip Manyim. Kiogora finished second at the 2006 ING New York City
Marathon, while Manyim brings 2:07 speed to the line.
In the women's race, defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya will face 2006
Boston runner-up Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia who already announced her
commitment to run and 2003 race runner-up Lyubov Denisova of Russia.
Last year, Prokopcuka missed the top spot by 10 seconds, the narrowest
margin in race history. She has won the ING New York City Marathon the past
two years and is the current leader of the World Marathon Majors Series.
Denisova comes into the race fresh from a course record win at the
difficult Honolulu Marathon this past December. She is also a two-time
champion of the Los Angeles Marathon.
Top contenders expected to challenge these women are U.S. record holder and
2004 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor who was announced
earlier, and Madai Perez of Mexico. Kastor from Mammoth Lakes, Calif. ran
the fastest time in the world last year with her 2:19:36 Flora London
Marathon win, and Perez established her country's mark of 2:22:59 at the
2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.
With such an elite group of the top contenders having experience on the
Boston course, the women's and men's race should prove highly competitive
this year. John Hancock, now in its 22nd year as the major sponsor of the
Boston Marathon, will announce its complete international elite team in
For more race information, visit: www.BostonMarathon.org