HOPKINTON, Mass., April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock today brought two Boston Marathon champions, Caroline Rotich, women's defending champion, and Wesley Korir, men's 2012 champion, and several other elite Kenyan athletes, to a pre-marathon rally with nearly 500 students from Hopkinton's Elmwood Elementary School.
The event, part of John Hancock's 'Scholars and Stars' program, gives students an opportunity to meet Kenyan athletes and learn first-hand about Kenya's culture and the lifestyles of the country's talented marathon runners. Kenyan athletes have built a strong tradition at the Boston Marathon and the athletes that have visited the Elmwood Elementary school over the years have won a combined 32 Boston Marathon titles.
The Kenyan runners at the event were led by Rotich, who said, "Being able to share our culture and love of running with the Elmwood students is a truly enjoyable part of our Boston Marathon experience. The children greet us with so much enthusiasm, and many good questions." Joining Rotich were nine other elite runners from Kenya, all of whom will participate in the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18, 2016.
"Our Scholars & Stars in Hopkinton event is a cornerstone of John Hancock's overall commitment to inspire an interest in other cultures and a love of running and fitness for more than twenty years now," said Rob Friedman, assistant vice president of Sponsorship and Event Marketing, John Hancock. "Kenyan runners who take part in the event express how much they enjoy the students and the enthusiasm they bring to the pep rally. We are grateful that these exceptional athletes from the John Hancock Elite Team take time before racing on Monday to share their culture and traditions with Elmwood students."
The annual event began in 1992 when 150 Elmwood students welcomed three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein and his Kenyan teammates. Since the program's inception, Hopkinton school officials have documented a marked increase in participation in their interscholastic track and cross-country teams, which now are among the most competitive in the state. More than 12,000 students, teachers, administrators and other Hopkinton community members have participated in the event since it began.
"This event is always met with great anticipation and is a highlight of the school year at Elmwood School," said Hopkinton Superintendent Dr. Cathy MacLeod. "The opportunity to meet the elite Kenyan athletes provides a unique and inspiring experience for all students to a make a direct connection from the start in their home town to the finish line in Boston."
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, our 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 C$935 billion (US$676 billion) as at December 31, 2015. 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 manulife.com.
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SOURCE John Hancock Financial