John Hancock Financial Announces 2013 Elite Field

Contact Info:
T.K. Skenderian (Communications Director)
Boston Athletic Association
185 Dartmouth Street, 6th Floor
Boston MA 02116
15 JAN 2013
Updated field listing as of March 13, 2013

BOSTON, MA, January 15, 2013 - In its 28th year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field for the 117th running of the Boston Marathon on April 15. A complete field list follows.



John Hancock Financial Services announced on April 10th that American Abdi Abdirahman and Ukrainian Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko have withdrawn from this year's Boston Marathon due to illness.

John Hancock Financial Services announced on April 5th that a persistent calf injury has forced American Meb Keflezighi to withdraw from this year's Boston Marathon. Keflezighi has run Boston twice, finishing third in 2006 and fifth in 2010. One of America's most accomplished runners, Keflezighi won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Marathon, won the 2009 New York City Marathon, and recently finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. Keflezighi said he hopes to return to race in Boston next year.

"Despite my best efforts, a nagging injury to my calf has not healed sufficiently, so I have to withdraw from the Boston Marathon," said Meb Keflezighi. "I'm very  disappointed. My training was going well in January and February, which had me very excited about the possibilities this spring. I even skipped the NYC Half Marathon to focus on getting healthy for Boston, but unfortunately, it wasn¹t enough. I ran out of time to recover enough to compete for a victory at the Boston Marathon. Nevertheless, I will still be coming to Boston to attend events for John Hancock and look forward to supporting the most prestigious marathon in the world."

Kenyan Laban Korir has also dropped from the race due to a recently developed groin injury. Korir, who has a 2:06:05 personal best, said he made the difficult decision to withdraw after conferring with his coach Patrick Sang. Korir said he had been training well and was intent on finishing in the top three  this year after placing sixth at Boston last year.


EDITOR'S NOTE - As of April 10, John Hancock has updated its Field List for the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team. Additions to the elite field include Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene, Lelisa Desisa Benti, and Deriba Merga. 

  • Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene set a course record in Paris last year before finishing runner-up in Berlin in a personal best 2:21:19. This past January, she won the Dubai Marathon and has finished on the podium in ten career marathons.
  • Lelisa Desisa Benti made his marathon debut in Dubai this year and won the race in 2:04:45. A young talent, Benti won the 10,000m at the African Junior Athletics Championships in 2009 and won the gold medal in the half marathon at the All-Africa Games in 2011. 
  • Former Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga, of Ethiopia, is a late addition to the field. Merga won the Boston Marathon in 2009 and placed
    third in 2010.  He is an All-African gold medalist in the half marathon and was fourth in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Marathon. In 2012, he finished second at the New York City Half Marathon in 59:48 and has run under one hour in the half marathon eight times. This year, he finished second in the Houston Half Marathon in January and fourth at the Paris Half Marathon in March. His marathon personal best time is 2:06:38.

Cancellations in the women’s field include Asefelech Mergia Medessa and Karolina Jarzynska due to lack of fitness.  Ukrainian Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko has withdrawn from this year's Boston Marathon due to illness.

Cancellations in the men’s field include Meb Keflezighi, Laban Korir, Moses Mosop, Ryan Hall, Shami Dawit, Eric Gillis, Lucas Rotich, and Guar Marial due to injury.  American Abdi Abdirahman has withdrawn from this year's Boston Marathon due to illness.


Reigning champions Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, both of Kenya, return to defend their titles, but will be fiercely challenged by a talented international field of Olympians, World Marathon Majors champions of Chicago, New York City and Boston, and multiple global marathon winners of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Cologne, Daegu, Dubai, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Hamburg, Houston, Istanbul, Krakow, Los Angeles, Milan, Rome, St. Paul, Soweto, Toronto, Turin and the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Last year Korir and Cherop battled not only one of the strongest fields ever assembled, but also blistering race day temperatures topping 85F. Korir prevailed over countryman Levy Matebo in the final mile and Cherop used past experience to surge on the final turn to win the women’s race by two seconds.

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Challenging Korir for the coveted laurel wreath this year is a fast group of men including 2011 Boston runnerup and 2011 Chicago champion Moses Mosop of Kenya. Mosop’s 2:03:06 Boston performance was the secondfastest time ever run over the marathon distance. Joining him in the chase is two-time Olympian and 2010 New York City winner Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia. Gebremariam has experience on the course, finishing third in 2011 in 2:04:53. Matebo has also committed to return to Boston to improve upon his second place finish last year and brings additional credentials as marathon champion in Barcelona and Brussels.   Editor's Note - As of March 13, 2013, Moses Mosop has withdrawn from the field.

American Ryan Hall, who owns the 2:04:58 U.S. course record in Boston, and countryman Meb Keflezighi, past New York City winner and Olympic silver medalist, will work together to bring back a title for the U.S. Both Hall and Keflezighi have finished as high as third in Boston.   Editor's Note - As of April 5, 2013, Ryan Hall  and Meb Keflezighi have withdrawn from the field.

Former Boston champion and former course-record-holder Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya also returns to the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team and will be joined by the 2012 Eindhoven course-record-holder Dickson Chumba, also of Kenya. Additional talent from Ethiopia includes 2011 Los Angeles champion and course-record-holder Markos Geneti, 2012 Paris and Mumbai runner-up Raji Assefa and the 2012 Hamburg and 2011 Toronto winner Shami Abdullah Dawit.   Editor's Note - As of March 13, 2013, Shami Abdullah Dawit has withdrawn from the field.

Guor Marial from South Sudan is also in the field. Marial was granted refugee status in the U.S. after fleeing Sudan during the Civil War. Eight of his brothers and sisters were killed in the conflict. Marial, now a U.S. resident, went to high school in Concord, New Hampshire, and college at Iowa State. After qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, but not yet having a country to run for, the International Olympic Committee honored him with entry to participate under the Olympic Flag.  Editor's Note - As of March 26, 2013, Guar Marial has withdrawn from the field.

Also in contention for the crown are four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman who will make his debut on the Boston course as will Australian Olympian Jeffrey Hunt and Canadians Robin Watson and two-time Olympian Eric Gillis.   Editor's Note - As of April 10, 2013, Eric Gillis and Abdi Abdirahman have withdrawn from the field.

Americans Jason Hartmann and Fernando Cabada are also contenders. Hartmann finished fourth last year and Cabada holds the American record in the 25K. Joining them to round out the deep field is half marathon specialist Lucas Rotich of Kenya, who holds a 59:44 half-marathon best and countryman Micah Kogo, a 59:07 half-marathoner, 10,000m Beijing bronze medalist, and former 10K world-record-holder (27:01).

Headlining the women’s field are defending Boston Marathon champion Sharon Cherop of Kenya, Dubai’s two-time winner and 2:19:31 course-record-holder Aselefech Medessa Mergia of Ethiopia and 2012 World Half Marathon champion and Amsterdam’s 2:21:09 course-record-holder Meseret Hailu Debele of Ethiopia. Past Boston champion and 2012 Chicago runner-up Rita Jeptoo of Kenya returns, as does Mexican national-record-holder Madai Pérez.   Editor's Note - As of March 13, 2013, Aselefech Medessa Mergia has withdrawn from the field.

Top Olympians Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko of the Ukraine and Americans Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher will present a strong challenge. Gamera-Shmyrko placed fifth at the London Olympic Marathon and Flanagan and Goucher finished tenth and eleventh respectively. Flanagan is a three-time Olympian, winning the bronze medal in the 10,000m in Beijing, and finished runner-up in her marathon debut in New York City before winning the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Goucher has experience on the Boston course finishing as high as third in 2009 and fifth in 2011.  Editor's Note - As of April 10, 2013, Titiana Gamera-Shmyrko has withdrawn from the field.

Also focused on the podium are Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia, who is past champion of Frankfurt, Houston, and Dubai; Alemita Abera Begna of Ethiopia, champion of Houston, Daegu and Istanbul; three-time Olympian Sabrina Mockenhaupt of Germany, champion of Frankfurt and two-time winner of Cologne and two-time Olympian René Kalmer of South Africa, who is the past marathon champion of Soweto and Johannesburg. Additional talent includes Diana Chepkemoi Sigei of Kenya, Yolanda Caballero of Colombia, and Olympians Karolina Jarzynska of Poland, Ana Dulce Félix of Portugal, and Burundi national-record-holder Diane Nukuri-Johnson. Additional Americans on the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team include Serena Burla, Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce and Alissa McKaig.   Editor's Note - As of March 13, 2013, Karolina Jarzynska has withdrawn from the field.

The 2013 Boston Marathon marks the 28th year of John Hancock’s landmark sponsorship of the legendary race. For additional information about the elite athlete program and sponsorship, please visit 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 with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, John Hancock celebrates 150 years of serving clients across the United States, while Manulife celebrates its 125th anniversary. 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$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. 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

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, 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, and on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.


Moses Mosop 2:03:06 (Boston, 2011) Kenya
Gebregziabher "Gebre" Gebremariam 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011) Ethiopia
Markos Geneti 2:04:54 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Ryan Hall 2:04:58 (Boston, 2011) United States
Levy Matebo 2:05:16 (Frankfurt, 2011) Kenya
Shami Abdullah Dawit 2:05:42 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Dickson Chumba 2:05:46 (Eindhoven, 2012) (CR) Kenya
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot 2:05:52 (Boston, 2010) Kenya
Wesley Korir 2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012) Kenya
Raji Assefa 2:06:24 (Paris, 2012) Ethiopia
Abdihakem "Abdi" Abdirahman 2:08:56 (Chicago, 2006) United States
Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi 2:09:08 (Houston, 2012) United States
Jeffrey Hunt 2:11:00 (Beppu, 2010) Australia
Jason Hartmann 2:11:06 (Chicago, 2010) United States
Eric Gillis 2:11:28 (Toronto, 2011) Canada
Fernando Cabada 2:11:53 (Houston, 2012) United States
Guor Marial 2:12:55 (San Diego, 2012) (NR) South Sudan
Robin Watson 2:13:37 (Rotterdam, 2012) Canada
Micah Kogo 59:07 (HM) (South Shields, 2012) Kenya
Lucas Rotich 59:44 (HM) (Den Haag, 2011) Kenya
Lelisa Desisa Benti 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Laban Korir 2:06:05 (Amsterdam, 2011) Kenya
Deriba Merga 2:06:38 (London, 2008) Ethiopia

Aselefech Medessa Mergia 2:19:31 (Dubai, 2012) (CR) Ethiopia
Meseret Hailu Debele 2:21:09 (Amsterdam, 2012) (CR) Ethiopia
Mamitu Daska 2:21:59 (Frankfurt, 2011) Ethiopia
Rita Jeptoo 2:22:04 (Chicago, 2012) Kenya
Sharon Cherop 2:22:39 (Dubai, 2012) Kenya
Madai Pérez 2:22:59 (Chicago, 2006) (NR) Mexico
Alemita Abera Begna 2:23:14 (Houston, 2012) Ethiopia
Tetiana Gamera-Shmyrko 2:24:32 (London, 2012) Ukraine
Kara Goucher 2:24:52 (Boston, 2011) United States
Shalane Flanagan 2:25:38 (Houston, 2012) United States
Ana Dulce Félix 2:25:40 (NYC, 2011) Portugal
Yolanda Caballero 2:26:17 (Boston, 2011) Colombia
Sabrina Mockenhaupt 2:26:21 (Berlin, 2010) Germany
Diana Chepkemoi Sigei 2:26:53 (Dubai, 2011) Kenya
Karolina Jarzynska 2:27:16 (Yokohama, 2011) Poland
Serena Burla 2:28:27 2:28:27 (Seoul, 2012) United States
Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce 2:29:35 (Houston, 2011) United States
René Kalmer 2:29:59 (Yokohama, 2011) South Africa
Diane Nukuri-Johnson 2:30:13 (London, 2012) (NR) Burundi
Alissa McKaig 2:31:56 (Houston, 2012) United States
Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene 2:21:19 (Berlin 2012) Ethiopia

CR = Course Record
NR = National Record
B.A.A. Moment

John Hancock Financial Announces 2013 Elite Field

In its 28th year as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the elite field for the 117th running of the Boston Marathon on April 15. A complete field list follows.

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