BOSTON, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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, fourth-place finish.
"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.
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 www.johnhancock.com.
SOURCE John Hancock Financial