BOSTON, March 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock today announced their Elite Athlete Ambassador Team for the 2016 Boston Marathon.
Past champions, Meb Keflezighi, Greg Meyer, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot, and Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb will join Uta Pippig, Dick and Rick Hoyt, Ryan Hall, Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden and Amy Cragg as ambassadors for this year's race.
Ambassadors will cheer on the 30,000 participants racing from Hopkinton to Boston on Patriots' Day and attend media, community and race week events, including making appearances at the John Hancock booth at the Sports and Fitness Expo and surprising race participants at weekend "meet and greets" near the finish line. All ambassadors will attend the John Hancock Elite Athlete press conference on April 15 at 10 a.m. at the Fairmont Copley. Additionally, Keflezighi, Cragg, Linden, and Flanagan will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on April 16 for the Red Sox game, in celebration of making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon team.
"We welcome to Boston this exceptional group of John Hancock Elite Athlete Ambassadors," said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. "These past champions, Olympians and inspirational athletes are role models for all of us. Their lives continue to center around a journey of health and wellness, commitment, strength, and heart. They have given back to the sport in so many positive ways and we welcome them into our Boston Marathon community. Their presence here will create tremendous excitement for participants and fans alike."
Meb Keflezighi: The 2014 Boston Marathon champion, Keflezighi is the only U.S. male to have won the Boston and New York City Marathons and an Olympic medal (silver, 2004). With his recent second-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Keflezighi will compete on his fourth Olympic team this summer.
Greg Meyer: The 1983 Boston Marathon champion, Meyer won the 1980 Detroit Marathon and the 1982 Chicago Marathon. Meyer set ten U.S. road racing records and two world records (15K, Ten Mile) during his career. He is the coach of the John Hancock Employee Running Program for the Boston Marathon.
Joan Benoit Samuelson: The first woman to win Olympic gold in the marathon, Samuelson is a two-time Boston Marathon winner and Chicago Marathon winner. In 1979, as a 21-year-old college senior, Samuelson won the Boston Marathon and set an American Best (2:35:15). In 1983, she won again, setting a world standard of 2:22:43.
Bill Rodgers: Four-time Boston Marathon (1975, 1978-80) and four-time New York City Marathon champion (1976-79), Rodgers continues to inspire runners of all ages and abilities. Rodgers also won the Fukuoka Marathon and is a former world record holder in the 25K.
Amby Burfoot: The 1968 Boston Marathon champion, Burfoot is the Editor-At-Large for Runner's World. His recent book, First Ladies of Running highlights 22 inspiring female runners.
Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb: The women's winner of the Boston Marathon during the pre-sanctioned years of 1966, 1967, and 1968, Gibb is marking the 50th anniversary of her initial win at this year's Boston Marathon. Gibb will be the Boston Athletic Association's Grand Marshal for the race.
Uta Pippig: Coach of Team Hoyt, Pippig is a three-time Boston Marathon (1994-96) and three-time Berlin Marathon champion (1990, 92, 95).
Dick and Rick Hoyt: The Hoyts have raced together in more than 1,100 sporting events, including 32 Boston Marathons. Over three decades they have inspired race participants and fans with their determination and willpower to defy all expectations.
Ryan Hall: American record holder in the 20K, 30K and half marathon, Hall also owns the U.S. course record on the Boston Marathon course (2:04:58). He won the 2007 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and finished runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. At the 2008 Olympic Games Marathon, he finished 10th.
Shalane Flanagan: Qualifying for her fourth Olympic team this year, Flanagan holds the American course record at the Boston Marathon (2:22:02), multiple U.S. track and road records, and earned the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics.
Desiree Linden: Runner-up at the 2011 Boston Marathon, Linden recently finished second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She won the silver medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, finished second at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, placed second at the 2010 Chicago Marathon and was fourth in Boston last year.
Amy Cragg: The 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials champion, Cragg finished fourth at the 2014 Chicago Marathon and second at the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon. In 2012, she finished 11th in the 10,000m at the London Olympics.
The 2016 Boston Marathon marks the 31st year of John Hancock's landmark sponsorship of the legendary race.
For additional information about this year's elite team running the race, please visit www.bostonmarathonmediaguide.com.
For more information about the elite athlete program and sponsorship, please visit www.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.
About John Hancock 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.
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 insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at johnhancock.com.
SOURCE John Hancock Financial