John Hancock Financial Announces 2015 Boston Marathon International Elite Field

36 Elite Athletes From 11 Countries Invited for 119th Running on April 20

Press Release

BOSTON, MA, January 20, 2015—In its 30th year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field for the 119th running of the Boston Marathon on April 20. A complete field list follows.

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Five past champions will return to compete in the world’s most historic marathon, but they will be strongly challenged by a talented men’s and women’s international field possessing both speed and depth. Boston champions Meb Keflezighi, Lelisa Desisa, Wesley Korir, Sharon Cherop and Caroline Kilel will join Olympic and IAAF World Championships medalists; Abbott World Marathon Majors champions of Berlin, New York City and Tokyo; and the combined winners of 85 global marathons who will seek to win the coveted Boston Marathon title.

The chase for the 2015 men’s title will be aggressive, with seven men in the field holding personal-best marathon times under 2:05:30 and ten men with times under 2:06:30.  Former world marathon record-holder and two-time BMW Berlin-Marathon champion Patrick Makau leads the group. Makau recently won the challenging 2014 Fukuoka Marathon and is also a past winner of marathons in Frankfurt and Rotterdam.

Lelisa Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon champion and 2013 World Championships Marathon silver medalist will challenge for the win as will Abel Kirui, the two-time World Championships Marathon gold medalist. Tadese Tola, the 2013 World Championships Marathon bronze medalist, is also in the field, as is accomplished marathoner Yemane Tsegay, who has won eight global marathons. Making his Boston debut is Zersenay Tadese, the world record-holder in the half marathon and 20K and an Olympic and World Championships medalist in track, roads and cross-country.

This group will face competition from the 2014 Boston Marathon podium winners all of whom return: Meb Keflezighi, Wilson Chebet and Frankline Chepkwony. Keflezighi brings experience and a strategic approach to the course. Along with his 2014 Boston Marathon victory, he is an Olympic Marathon silver medalist and TCS New York City champion. Chebet, the 2014 Boston Marathon runner-up is a three-time winner in Amsterdam and a Rotterdam champion, and Chepkwony, who was third in Boston last year, is a past Seoul and Zurich champion.

Also racing with valuable course experience are Wesley Korir, Gebregziabher Gebremariam and Bernard Kipyego. Korir won the Boston Marathon in 2012 in extreme heat and also won twice in Los Angeles. Gebremariam, a two-time Olympian, won in New York City in 2010 and finished third in 2014. In Boston, Gebremariam finished third in 2012 and 2013. Kipyego won the 2014 TCS Amsterdam Marathon and has made the podium in Boston, Chicago and Tokyo.

Rounding out the international men’s field are the second-fastest Canadian marathoner of all time, Dylan Wykes; two-time Moroccan Olympian Abderrahime Bouramdane; two-time Hannover winner Lusapho April of South Africa; and Ukrainian Olympian Vitaliy Shafar, who finished fourth last year in Boston.

Top Americans, announced last week, include three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, Jeffrey Eggleston, Nicholas Arciniaga and Fernando Cabada. 

On the women’s side, John Hancock has assembled the fastest field in the history of the event with ten women holding personal best times under 2:23. The dynamics of the field should prove for an interesting race, as there is a blend of world-class experience and talent across several road and track disciplines.

Leading the way with experience are past Boston Marathon champions Sharon Cherop and Caroline Kilel. Cherop won Boston in 2012 and placed third in 2011 and 2013. She earned a bronze medal at the 2011 World Marathon Championships and has won marathons in Toronto, Hamburg, Singapore and Turin. Kilel won Boston in 2011 and earned a silver medal at last year’s Commonwealth Games Marathon. She has won seven additional marathons around the world.

Chasing the Kenyan duo is a team of Ethiopia’s most accomplished runners: Aberu Kebede, Mare Dibaba, Buzunesh Deba, Mamitu Daska and Ejegayehu Dibaba.

Kebede is a Tokyo Marathon and two-time BMW Berlin-Marathon champion. Deba is champion of eight U.S. marathons and was Boston runner-up last year. Mare Dibaba was second in Chicago this year and is a two-time winner in Xiamen. Daska won both the B.A.A. 10K and B.A.A. Half Marathon last year and has won marathons in Dubai, Houston and Frankfurt. Ejegayehu Dibaba is an Olympic silver medalist and two-time World Championships bronze medalist in the 10,000m. In her 2011 marathon debut in Chicago, she finished second.

Also focused on the podium are American elites Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila Linden and Amy Hastings. The trio was announced last week and expects to contend for the win. Flanagan holds the fourth fastest time in the competitive field, Linden was runner-up in Boston in 2011, and Hastings is coming off a fifth place in Chicago last year.

Ready to run for the coveted olive wreath are Los Angeles winner and Belarus national-record-holder Aleksandra Duliba, Prague and Los Angeles champion Caroline Rotich, two-time Olympian Marisa Barros of Portugal, Linz and Zurich champion Lisa Stublic Nemec, African Championships 10,000m gold medalist Joyce Chepkirui and, making her marathon debut, half marathon specialist Cynthia Limo.

“For 30 years, John Hancock as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been recruiting many of the world’s best marathoners to run here,” says Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director.  “During the last three decades, unpredictable and compelling races have played out on the streets from Hopkinton to Boston, as our American and international athletes push themselves to win here, more than any other race they will contest.  We look forward to the spring and watching new stories unfold in these athletes’ quest to capture the olive wreath at the finish on Boylston Street.”

Rob Friedman, head of sponsorship and event marketing at John Hancock, adds, “To run the historic Boston Marathon makes you part of a legacy that is more than a century old. And to win the Boston Marathon makes you a running legend for all time. As we welcome five former champions back to Boston to compete against an exceptional international field, we recognize the commitment and hard work it takes to compete at the highest level of the sport. We look forward to another exciting race in Boston on April 20.”

For additional information about John Hancock’s Elite Athlete Team and sponsorship, please visit or follow us on Twitter or @jhboston26.

Patrick Makau, 2:03:38 (Berlin, 2011), Kenya
Lelisa Desisa, 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013), Ethiopia
Yemane Tsegay, 2:04:48 (Rotterdam, 2012), Ethiopia
Tadese Tola, 2:04:49 (Dubai, 2013), Ethiopia
Gebregziabher Gebremariam, 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011), Ethiopia
Abel Kirui, 2:05:04 (Rotterdam, 2009), Kenya
Wilson Chebet, 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011), Kenya
Frankline Chepkwony, 2:06:11 (Eindhoven, 2012), Kenya
Wesley Korir, 2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012), Kenya
Bernard Kipyego, 2:06:22 (Amsterdam, 2014), Kenya
Abderrahime Bouramdane , 2:07:33 (London, 2010), Morocco
Dathan Ritzenhein, 2:07:47 (Chicago, 2012), USA
Lusapho April, 2:08:32 (Hannover, 2013), South Africa
Meb Keflezighi, 2:08:37 (Boston, 2014), USA
Vitaliy Shafar, 2:09:37 (Boston, 2014), Ukraine
Zersenay Tadese, 2:10:41 (London, 2012), Eritrea
Dylan Wykes, 2:10:47 (Rotterdam, 2012), Canada
Jeffrey Eggleston, 2:10:52 (Gold Coast, 2014), USA
Nicholas Arciniaga, 2:11:30 (Houston, 2011), USA
Fernando Cabada, 2:11:36 (Berlin, 2014), USA

Mare Dibaba, 2:19:52 (Xiamen, 2015), Ethiopia
Buzunesh Deba, 2:19:59 (Boston, 2014), Ethiopia
Aberu Kebede, 2:20:30 (Berlin, 2012), Ethiopia
Shalane Flanagan, 2:21:14 (Berlin, 2014), USA
Aleksandra Duliba, 2:21:29 (Boston, 2014), Belarus
Mamitu Daska, 2:21:59 (Frankfurt, 2011), Ethiopia
Ejegayehu Dibaba, 2:22:09 (Chicago, 2011), Ethiopia
Sharon Cherop, 2:22:28 (Berlin, 2013), Kenya
Caroline Kilel, 2:22:34 (Frankfurt, 2013), Kenya
Desiree Davila Linden, 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011), USA
Caroline Rotich, 2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012), Kenya
Marisa Barros, 2:25:04 (Yokohama, 2011), Portugal
Lisa Stublic Nemec, 2:25:44 (Zurich, 2013), Croatia
Amy Hastings, 2:27:03 (Chicago, 2014), USA
Joyce Chepkirui, 2:30:23  (Honolulu, 2014), Kenya
Cynthia Limo, Debut, Kenya

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