FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JOHN HANCOCK FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES RETURN OF
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS TO RUN 2008 BOSTON MARATHON
Three-time Boston Winner and World Marathon Majors Champion
Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot And 2007 Boston Winner Lidiya Grigoryeva
Set To Defend Their Titles On April 21
BOSTON, MA, January 23, 2008-John Hancock Financial, in its 23rd year as
principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, today announced the return of
three-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya and women's winner
Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia for the 112th running of the race on April 21.
Cheruiyot, the winner in 2003, 2006 and 2007, will seek to become the first
Kenyan to claim four Boston Marathon crowns. Winning this year also would
put him in the company of only three men who have won four or more times,
Canadian Gerard Cote and Americans Bill Rodgers and Clarence DeMar.
"I'd like to thank John Hancock for inviting me back to defend my title,"
said Cheruiyot. "I have had much success on the Boston course because the
more difficult and competitive a race is, the more I commit myself to do my
Cheruiyot, who set a course record of 2:07:14 in Boston in 2006, then went
on to win the Chicago Marathon in an unprecedented same-year double. He
returned to a stormy Boston in 2007 to claim his third victory and secure
the inaugural World Marathon Majors Series title and $500,000 prize. The
series, now entering its second two-year cycle, brings together the best
athletes in the world to compete in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New
Boston's 2007 women's champion, Lidiya Grigoryeva, found the tape first
last year holding off the top three ranked women in the world: Deena
Kastor, Jelena Prokopcuka and 2006 Boston Champion Rita Jeptoo.
"Winning Boston was a career highlight for me," said Grigoryeva. "I am
eager to compete again with the best runners in the world and thank John
Hancock for the opportunity."
Grigoryeva is a two-time Olympian at 10,000 meters and, in addition to her
Boston success, she earned a course record win at the 2006 Los Angeles
Marathon and was champion at the 2005 Paris Marathon.
"We are very excited to have both of our defending champions returning for
the 112th Boston Marathon," said Guy Morse, Executive Director of the
Boston Athletic Association. "Robert and Lidiya showed their strength by
winning in difficult conditions in 2007. We look forward to seeing how they
follow up on those victories in 2008."
"John Hancock Financial is closing in on a quarter century of bringing the
world's top runners like Robert and Lidiya back to the race year after
year, ensuring that the Boston Marathon remains one of the world's premier
road races," said John D. DesPrez III, President and Chief Executive
Officer of John Hancock Financial. "We are very pleased to celebrate our
23rd year of fulfilling our promise to the city of Boston and surrounding
communities to support this great race. Not only is it an annual sign that
spring has arrived here, but the Boston Marathon also provides a tremendous
positive annual economic effect on the region, generating a direct and
indirect economic impact of an estimated $95 million. John Hancock is proud
of its long history of supporting the Boston Marathon."