FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John Hancock Financial Announces Top Americans
Kara Goucher And Desiree Davila To Run 2011 Boston Marathon
Olympian and World Championship Medalist
Kara Goucher Returns to Seek U.S. Win
Desiree Davila Brings Fastest 2010 U.S. Marathon Time to Race
BOSTON, MA, (Tuesday, December 14, 2010)-In its 26th year as the principal
sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced that
Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila will headline the elite women's American
team at the 115th running of the race on April 18, 2011.
The matchup should prove exciting as both women seek positioning for the
2012 Olympic Marathon. Goucher, who trains under former Boston champion
Alberto Salazar, is third on the all-time American list with a 2:25:53
best. Davila, who trains with the Hansons-Brooks team, is fourth with a
2:26:20 best. Only Deena Kastor and Joan Benoit-Samuelson have run faster
In head-to-head competition the two women raced on the American team at the
2009 IAAF World Championships Marathon in Berlin with Goucher finishing
10th and Davila five seconds back in 11th.
Choosing Boston as her first marathon after the birth in September of her
son, Colt, Goucher said, "My return to running has gone very well and I
can't think of a better place than Boston to pickup where I left off."
In 2009 Goucher finished third at the Boston Marathon. Her front running
against 2008 champion Dire Tune and eventual winner Salina Kosgei made for
a thrilling race as only nine seconds separated the three women at the
"I'm excited to be invited back on the John Hancock elite team," said
Goucher. "The 2009 Boston Marathon stands as the highlight of my career. I
wished that I could have won, but I did the best I could and Boston
embraced me for that. The support in Boston was nothing that I had ever
experienced before. It was a thrill of a lifetime to have people cheering
my name for the full 26.2-mile race."
In her 2008 marathon debut in New York City, Goucher finished third and set
a number of American women's marathon records: the fastest debut ever, the
fastest time ever run on the course, and the fastest time of 2008. She also
was a 2008 Olympian in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and a 2007 World
Championship bronze medalist in the 10,000m.
Desiree Davila brings significant credentials to the John Hancock elite
team having run the fastest marathon time by an American in 2010, with her
fourth place finish in Chicago.
An Arizona State University All American in cross-country and on the track,
Davila made her marathon debut at the Boston Marathon during the 2007
Nor'easter and has consistently developed with each marathon she has run.
"The biggest thing I was able to take away from Chicago and the World
Championships is confidence," said Davila. "Everything we are doing at
Hansons is about progression. I've learned how to prepare for the marathon;
how to race the distance. I've gotten faster and more competitive up front
each time out."
Davila plans to train on the Boston course this week in preparation. "The
next logical step is putting it all together and learning how to win," said
Davila. "As an American marathoner, what better place to take on that
challenge than Boston?"
A win by Goucher or Davila will be the first by an American woman since
1985, when Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach won the race. Goucher and Davila join
Ryan Hall, announced earlier, on the John Hancock elite team for the 2011
"We are thrilled to have Kara and Desiree back for the 2011 Boston
Marathon, joining what will once again be an outstanding field of runners
from around the world. John Hancock remains committed to securing an elite
global field for the Boston Marathon and we are well on our way for 2011,"
said Jim Boyle, President of John Hancock Financial Services. "Kara,
Desiree and other elite runners every year provide the millions of
spectators and viewers with a thrilling race. Marathoning is a global
sport, but the growing prominence of U.S. runners among the world's elite
is a terrific development for fans and for the sport."
"Kara proved herself in 2009 when she led for most of the race, giving
American hopes a real chance for the entire 26.2 miles. Those who watched
her performance will not soon forget it. And since Desiree first ran Boston
in 2007, she has emerged as one of America's shining stars. We look forward
to the return of both in April," said B.A.A. Executive Director Guy Morse.
About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation
John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a
leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of
customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. 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. For more than 120 years, clients have looked to Manulife for
strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most
significant financial decisions. Funds under management by Manulife
Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$474 billion (US$460 billion) as at
September 30, 2010.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial may be found on the
Internet at www.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, 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