FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel of Kenya
Set to Defend Their Titles on April 16
2012 Marks the 27th Year of John Hancock's Landmark Sponsorship of the
Boston Marathon and the 150th Anniversary of the Founding of the Company
BOSTON, MA, January, 5, 2012-John Hancock Financial today announced the
return of 2011 Boston Marathon champions Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel
of Kenya for the 116th running of the race on April 16.
Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest marathon in history at last year's race,
prevailing against a highly competitive field without the aid of
pacesetters. In a thrilling duel to the finish, Mutai outkicked his
teammate Moses Mosop in the final meters to break the tape in a World's
Best 2:03:02 to Mosop's 2:03:06. Never before in the sport had two men run
the 26.2-mile distance with such speed.
Mutai led eight John Hancock sponsored elite men under the 2:08 barrier
over one of the world's most difficult courses. He credited American Ryan
Hall for pushing the pace and the lead pack throughout the historic run.
Hall set a new American best and course record with his 2:04:58,
"I want to return to Boston to defend my title," said Mutai. "I very much
liked the race in 2011, because I made the best time ever run in the
marathon." After his Boston win, Mutai continued to break barriers as he
notched a 2:05:06 course record this past fall in New York City. With that
double crown, he became the first man in history to break course records in
Boston and New York City in the same year.
Boston's 2011 women's race was equally enthralling as fans from around the
world saw Caroline Kilel trade the lead with American Desiree Davila
several times down the finishing stretch of Boylston Street. Kilel
ultimately triumphed by two seconds over Davila for the 2:22:36 win, before
collapsing in exhaustion. The close finish marked the fourth consecutive
year the women's race in Boston had been decided by three seconds or less.
"I have chosen the Boston Marathon because, of course, I had a good
experience by winning in 2011," said Kilel. "I hope I can do the same this
year." With another podium finish, Kilel hopes to be named to the 2012
Kenyan Olympic Marathon Team.
Kilel and Davila now respectively hold the fourth and fifth fastest times
ever run on the Boston course. Davila also claimed the U.S. course record
of 2:22:38, which eclipsed Joan Benoit Samuelson's 1983 record of 2:22:43.
"Throughout our more than quarter century sponsorship of the Boston
Marathon, John Hancock has each year honored its commitment to bring the
world's top runners to the race, and knowing the defending champions will
return in 2012 is an excellent start to the new year," said Rob Friedman,
head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. "We are counting
down the days to April 16th and expect to provide millions of spectators
and viewers with yet another thrilling contest."
"We are delighted to have Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel returning to
defend their titles at this year's event," said Tom Grilk, Executive
Director of the Boston Athletic Association. "After their magnificent
performances in 2011 they have become synonymous with excellence in running
and racing in Boston. Now, thanks to John Hancock Financial Services, both
Mutai and Kilel have the opportunity to come back in April and attempt to
add to their list of outstanding performances."
The 2012 Boston Marathon marks the 27th year of John Hancock's landmark
sponsorship of the legendary race and also the 150th anniversary of the
founding of the Company. For additional information about the sponsorship
and elite athlete program, please visit
www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html or follow us
@jhboston26 on Twitter.
About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation
John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a
leading Canada-based financial services group serving millions of customers
in 21 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. Funds
under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$492
billion (US$473 billion) as at September 30, 2011. Manulife Financial
Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on
the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.