John Hancock Financial Announces 2017 Boston Marathon International Elite Field

Press Release

January 12, 2017— In its 32nd year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field for the 121st Boston Marathon on April 17. A complete field list follows.

Six Boston Marathon champions and 15 top U.S. runners will challenge an exceptional men’s and women’s international field. Combined, the team has won Olympic and IAAF World Championships medals as well as 89 global marathons, including 22 Abbott World Marathon Majors. There will be 19 Olympians in the field.

Dennis Kimetto Dennis Kimetto

Marathon world-record-holder Dennis Kimetto leads a field of nine men who have lifetime bests under 2:05:30. Kimetto is a Chicago and Tokyo champion and set the world marathon standard with his 2:02:57 Berlin win in 2014. Kimetto also holds the world 25K record. Close on his heels will be seasoned runners and fellow Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai, Patrick Makau and Sammy Kitwara. Mutai finished second to Kimetto in the 2014 Berlin race, is a London and Amsterdam champion and earned the silver medal at the 2009 IAAF World Championships. Makau is a former marathon world-record-holder, two-time Berlin and Fukuoka winner, and champion in Rotterdam and Frankfurt. Kitwara has run six half marathons under one hour and is coming off a December win in Taipei.

2016 Boston Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia will work with countrymen Yemane Tsegay, Dino Sefir and Sisay Lemma as he seeks to defend his title. Tsegay finished third in Boston last year, claimed the silver medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships Marathon and has nine global marathon wins, including winning Fukuoka this past December. Sefir and Lemma are new to the Boston course. Sefir holds 2016 wins in Ottawa and Barcelona. Lemma won Frankfurt and Vienna in 2015.

Four additional Kenyans will be in the mix. Wesley Korir, the 2012 Boston Marathon champion is joined by Wilson Chebet, a three-time Amsterdam winner and Rotterdam winner, who has finished second and third in Boston.  Rising talents Geoffrey Kirui, who won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships and Daniel Salel, the 2016 B.A.A. Half Marathon champion, also seek a podium finish in their Boston debuts.

Olympians Yared Asmeron of Eritrea, Cutbert Nyasango of Zimbabwe, and Eric Gillis of Canada also are in the field. Highlights of Asmeron’s career include finishing eighth at the 2004 Olympic Games and fourth at the 2007 IAAF World Championships. Nyasango holds his country’s national record and finished seventh at the 2012 Olympic Games Marathon. Gillis, a three-time Olympian, most recently placed tenth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Marathon.

U.S. elite men previously announced include 2014 Boston Marathon winner and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, 2016 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist Galen Rupp, 2016 Olympian Jared Ward, four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, Shadrack Biwott and Sean Quigley.  

Recently added to the U.S. team is Luke Puskedra, who finished fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and was the top American at the 2015 Chicago Marathon with a fifth place finish.

On the women’s side, John Hancock has assembled a talented field with nine women holding personal best times under 2:23:23. Two-time IAAF World Championships gold medalist Edna Kiplagat is one of the most accomplished women in the field. Kiplagat is a London, New York City and Los Angeles champion and won the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series in 2013-2014. Last year she finished third in Tokyo and second in Chicago, running a 2:22:36 and 2:23:28 respectively. Countrywomen Gladys Cherono, the 2015 Berlin winner and 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships gold medalist, joins Kiplagat, as does 2015 Boston, Prague and Las Vegas champion Caroline Rotich.

Valentine Kipketer, Joyce Chepkirui, and Brigid Kosgei round out the Kenyan team. Kipketer is a past winner of Amsterdam and Mumbai; Chepkirui is an Amsterdam and two-time Honolulu winner; and Kosgei won Honolulu and Milan in 2016.

From Ethiopia, 2016 champ Atsede Baysa as well as 2014 Boston Marathon winner and course-record-holder Buzunesh Deba are back to race. They will be joined by countrywoman and young talent Ruti Aga who won the silver medal in the 5,000m at the 2012 World Junior Championships and last year finished second in Vienna and third in Berlin.

Four-time Olympian Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia, who is a two-time New York City winner and two-time Boston runner-up returns after placing 12th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon. She will be joined by Rose Chelimo of Bahrain, who finished eighth at the 2016 Olympic Marathon; three-time Olympian Diane Nukuri of Burundi who most recently finished fifth at the New York City Marathon; Kellys Arias, who holds the Colombian national record; and Rachel Hannah, the fastest Canadian marathoner of 2016.

Previously announced elite women from the U.S. include four-time Olympian and 10,000m Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, who recently finished sixth at the 2016 Olympic Games Marathon; two-time Olympian Desiree Linden, who finished seventh at the 2016 Olympic Games Marathon; 2015 Pan Am Games Marathon silver medalist Lindsay Flanagan; two-time Pittsburgh winner Clara Santucci; Tallahassee and Twin Cities winner Esther Atkins; and making her debut is track standout, Jordan Hasay, the 2016 Ten Mile National Champion.

Added to the U.S. women’s field are Olympian Blake Russell and Liz Costello who is making her marathon debut. Russell is a winner of the Twin Cities Marathon, a four-time top-20 finisher in World Cross Country Championships, the top American finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games Marathon, and most recently finished third at the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon. Costello, an All-American at Princeton University, finished fourth in the 10,000m at the 2015 Pan American Games and last year placed sixth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

“We are excited that the elite race for the 121st running of the Boston Marathon will showcase many of the most accomplished runners in the world,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. “During our 32 years of sponsorship, we have hosted more than 750 elite athletes from 47 countries, and each year they run a strategic and exciting race for the spectators in Boston and fans around the globe. We look forward to cheering on the elites and the thousands of runners who will join them as they race over the world’s most historic marathon course.”

“As evidenced by the returning champions and top Americans who have already been announced, today’s release of the full field reveals an incredible amount of talent heading to Boston,” said B.A.A. Chief Executive Officer Tom Grilk. “Tactics are of crucial importance on the Boston Marathon course, where the right combination of speed, smarts, and willpower can help a victor emerge from the world’s best runners. April’s race will be exciting to watch and John Hancock is to be commended for bringing the world’s best to Boston once again.”

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For additional information about the John Hancock Elite Athlete Program and sponsorship, please visit or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter. A complete field list follows.

2017 Boston Marathon John Hancock Elite Field

Dennis Kimetto, Kenya, 2:02:57 (Berlin, 2014) WR
Emmanuel Mutai, Kenya, 2:03:13 (Berlin, 2014)
Patrick Makau, Kenya, 2:03:38 (Berlin, 2011) Former WR
Sammy Kitwara, Kenya, 2:04:28 (Chicago, 2014)
Lemi Berhanu Hayle, Ethiopia, 2:04:33 (Dubai, 2016)
Yemane Tsegay, Ethiopia, 2:04:48 (Rotterdam, 2012)
Dino Sefir, Ethiopia, 2:04:50 (Dubai, 2012)
Sisay Lemma, Ethiopia, 2:05:16 (Dubai, 2016)
Wilson Chebet, Kenya, 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011)
Wesley Korir, Kenya, 2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012)
Geoffrey Kirui, Kenya, 2:06:27 (Amsterdam, 2016)
Yared Asmeron, Eritrea, 2:07:27 (Chuncheon, 2011)
Meb Keflezighi, USA, 2:08:37 (Boston, 2014)
Abdi Abdirahman, USA, 2:08:56 (Chicago, 2006)
Cutbert Nyasango, Zimbabwe, 2:09:52 (Prague, 2014) NR
Galen Rupp, USA, 2:10:05 (Rio de Janeiro, 2016)
Luke Puskedra, USA, 2:10:24 (Chicago, 2015)
Eric Gillis, Canada, 2:11:21 (Toronto, 2014)
Jared Ward, USA, 2:11:30 (Rio de Janeiro, 2016)
Shadrack Biwott, USA, 2:12:01 (New York, 2016)
Sean Quigley, USA, 2:13:30 (Fukuoka, 2013)
Daniel Salel, Kenya, debut

Gladys Cherono, Kenya, 2:19:25 (Berlin, 2015)
Edna Kiplagat, Kenya, 2:19:50 (London, 2012)
Buzunesh Deba, Ethiopia, 2:19:59 (Boston, 2014) CR
Shalane Flanagan, USA, 2:21:14 (Berlin, 2014)
Atsede Baysa, Ethiopia, 2:22:03 (Chicago, 2012)
Desiree Linden, USA, 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)
Jelena Prokopcuka, Latvia, 2:22:56 (Osaka, 2005) NR
Valentine Kipketer, Kenya, 2:23:02 (Amsterdam, 2013)
Caroline Rotich, Kenya, 2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012)
Joyce Chepkirui, Kenya, 2:24:11 (Amsterdam, 2015)
Rose Chelimo, Bahrain, 2:24:14 (Seoul, 2016)
Ruti Aga, Ethiopia, 2:24:41 (Berlin, 2016)
Brigid Kosgei, Kenya, 2:24:45 (Lisbon, 2016)
Diane Nukuri, Burundi, 2:27:50 (London, 2015)
Blake Russell, USA, 2:29:10 (Chicago, 2005)
Lindsay Flanagan, USA, 2:29:28 (Frankfurt, 2016)
Kellys Arias, Colombia, 2:29:36 (Hamburg, 2016) NR
Clara Santucci, USA, 2:29:54 (Boston, 2011)
Rachel Hannah, Canada, 2:32:09 (Houston, 2016)
Esther Atkins, USA, 2:33:15 (Boston, 2014)
Liz Costello, USA, debut
Jordan Hasay, USA, debut
WR= World Record
NR= National Record
CR= Course Record

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were $966 billion (US $736 billion) as at September 30, 2016. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insuranceannuitiesinvestmentsretirement planslong-term care insurancecollege savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at

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