FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JOHN HANCOCK FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES 2008 BOSTON MARATHON
ELITE INTERNATIONAL FIELD
Five Past Champions, Course Record Holders, 2007 Runner-ups
Head Field of 31 Athletes for 112th Running
BOSTON, MA (March 12, 2008)-In its 23rd year as principal sponsor of the
Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced its elite team of
31 marathon runners from eight countries set for the 112th running of the
race on Monday, April 21.
Headlining the field are defending champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of
Kenya and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia.
Back to challenge Cheruiyot and Grigoryeva are past champions Rita Jeptoo,
Timothy Cherigat and Margaret Okayo. Cheruiyot and Okayo are the current
course record holders.
Also set to challenge the defending champion's are last year's second-place
finishers Jelena Prokopcuka and James Kwambai.
The Men's Field
Cheruiyot, the champion in 2003, 2006 and 2007, seeks to become the first
Kenyan man to claim four Boston Marathon crowns. Cheruiyot also won Chicago
in 2006, Milan in 2002 and was named the inaugural World Marathon Majors
Kwambai, a past marathon winner in Brescia and Beijing, shadowed Cheruiyot
until mile 25 last year before the champion surged for the win. Cherigat,
who won a tactical race in 2004, has five starts in Boston and the
experience to secure another title.
Chasing the trio is a talented pack led by Patrick Ivuti of Kenya, the 2007
Chicago champion; Stephen Kiogora of Kenya, last year's third place
finisher; Gashaw Asfaw of Ethiopia, the 2006 Paris winner and Abderrahime
Bouramdane of Morocco, the 2007 runner up in Seoul and Ottawa. Added to the
mix are Christopher Cheboiboch, the 2007 Las Vegas winner; William
Kiplagat, the 2007 Lake Biwa runner-up and 2:07 marathoner Shadrack
Kiplagat. All three runners are from Kenya.
Young talent set for this world-class race includes 21-year-old Yirefu
Birhanu of Ethiopia, the 2006 Baltimore winner and 23-year-old James Mwangi
Macharia of Kenya, who finished second in Vienna in
2007 in his marathon debut.
Also expected to make an impact are Abdelhadi El Mouaziz of Morocco, who
won his debut last year in San Sebastian; James Koskei of Kenya, the 2007
Dallas winner, and four time European Cross-Country Champion Paulo Guerra
of Portugal. Rounding out the men's field are Khalid El Boumlili of Morocco
and Tariku Aboset, Kasime Adillo, Tesfaye Girma and Dejene Yirdaw, all of
The Women's Field
On the women's side, with three champions in the field, a two-time
runner-up, and a new generation of international talent, John Hancock's
elite team is a strong mix of experienced runners and rising stars.
Russian Lidiya Grigoryeva has the edge coming into the race as the
defending champion. As a two-time Olympian at 10,000 meters she has the
closing speed to win if the lead pack stays tight. She also set a course
record at the 2006 Los Angeles Marathon and was champion at the 2005 Paris
Challenging Grigoryeva is 2006 Boston Champion Rita Jeptoo and 2002
Champion Margaret Okayo, both of Kenya. Jeptoo returns to improve upon her
fourth place finish in last year's Nor'easter. Okayo holds the course
record and the fastest time in the field at 2:20:43. Okayo is a two-time
New York City and Rock 'n' Roll winner and past champion in London and
Two-time runner-up Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia, also has much to prove at
this year's race. Although she bested both Grigoryeva and Jeptoo during her
two New York City wins, she finished behind Grigoryeva last year in Boston
and in 2006 finished second to Jeptoo.
Challenging the leaders are talented newcomers Askale Tafa Magarsa and Dire
Tune, both of Ethiopia. Magarsa is the 2007 Paris, 2007 Dubai and 2006
Milan champion, and Tune won in Hong Kong in 2006 and set course records in
Houston in 2007 and 2008.
Close on their heels and debuting on the Boston course are Ukrainian
national record holder Tetyana Kuzina-Hladyr and 2007 Amsterdam winner
Magdaline Chemjor of Kenya.
Additional competition will come from returnees Alevtina Biktimirova of
Russia, the winner of the 2007 Honolulu Marathon; Italian Olympian Bruna
Genovese, a past winner of the Tokyo Women's Marathon, and 21-year-old Robe
Tola Guta of Ethiopia, the 2006 Hamburg Marathon champion.
The blend of athletes with experience on the course and those new to the
challenges of the hilly Hopkinton to Boston route should lead to a highly
competitive men's and women's race.
A complete field list follows.
112Th B.A.A. BOSTON MARATHON JOHN HANCOCK'S 2008 ELITE FIELD
|WOMEN'S OPEN FIELD|
|Margaret Okayo||Kenya||2:20:43||(Boston 2002) CR|
|Jelena Prokopcuka||Latvia||2:22:56||(Osaka 2005) NR|
|Askale Tafa Magarsa||Ethiopia||2:23:23||(Dubai 2008)|
|Rita Jeptoo||Kenya||2:23:38||(Boston 2006)|
|Robe Tola Guta||Ethiopia||2:24:35||(Hamburg 2006) CR|
|Dire Tune||Ethiopia||2:24:40||(Houston 2008) CR|
|Lidiya Grigoryeva||Russia||2:25:10||(Los Angeles 2006) CR|
|Alevtina Biktimirova||Russia||2:25:12||(Frankfurt 2005) CR|
|Bruna Genovese||Italy||2:25:28||(Boston 2006)|
|Tetyana Kuzina-Hladyr||Ukraine||2:25:44||(Rome 2006) NR|
|Magdaline Chemjor||Kenya||2:28:16||(Amsterdam 2007)|
|MEN'S OPEN FIELD|
|William Kiplagat||Kenya||2:06:50||(Amsterdam 1999)|
|Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot||Kenya||2:07:14||(Boston 2006) CR|
|Patrick Ivuti||Kenya||2:07:46||(Chicago 2005)|
|Shadrack Kiplagat||Kenya||2:07:53||(Amsterdam 2007)|
|Gashaw Asfaw||Ethiopia||2:08:03||(Paris 2006)|
|Christopher Cheboiboch||Kenya||2:08:17||(New York 2002)|
|Abderrahime Bouramdane||Morocco||2:08:20||(Seoul 2007)|
|Yirefu Birhanu||Ethiopia||2:09:01||(Seoul 2007)|
|Stephen Kiogora||Kenya||2:09:21||(Chicago 2004)|
|Timothy Cherigat||Kenya||2:09: 34||(San Sebastian 2002) CR|
|James Kwambai||Kenya||2:10:20||(Brescia 2006)|
|Kasime Adillo||Ethiopia||2:10:20||(Toronto 2007)|
|James Mwangi Macharia||Kenya||2:10:27||(Vienna 2007)|
|Khalid El Boumlili||Morocco||2:10:49||(Marrakesh 2004)|
|Paulo Guerra||Portugal||2:11:02||(Berlin 1998)|
|Dejene Yirdaw||Ethiopia||2:11:08||(Dublin 2007)|
|Tariku Aboset||Ethiopia||2:12:24||(Dubai 2008)|
|Abdelhadi El Mouaziz||Morocco||2:12:45||(San Sebastian 2007)|
|Tesfaye Girma||Ethiopia||2:13:37||(Addis Ababa 2003)|
|James Koskei||Kenya||2:14:02||(Dubai 2007)|