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    For immediate release / Boston /

    John Hancock Financial Announces Elite Athlete Ambassadors for 2017 Boston Marathon Past Champions, Olympians, and Dick and Rick Hoyt Invited as Race Week Ambassadors

    BOSTON, MA, April 5, 2017—John Hancock today announced its Elite Athlete Ambassador Team for the 2017 Boston Marathon to be held on April 17.

    Boston Marathon champions Greg Meyer, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers, Uta Pippig, and Tatyana McFadden will join Shalane Flanagan, Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Becca Pizzi and Dick and Rick Hoyt 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 14 at 10 a.m. at the Fairmont Copley. Many of the ambassadors will make appearance on behalf of John Hancock throughout the year.

    “Once again we are excited to announce an outstanding group of John Hancock Elite Athlete Ambassadors to meet participants, fans, and media during race week,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock. “These inspirational athletes continue to give back to the sport of marathoning in so many positive ways and they have become a welcome and integral part of the Boston Marathon community.”

    Greg Meyer: The 1983 Boston Marathon champion, Meyer won the 1980 Detroit Marathon and the1982 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.

    Uta Pippig: Coach of Team Hoyt, Pippig was the first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon three consecutive times (1994-96). She is also a three-time Berlin Marathon champion (1990, 92, 95). She competed for Germany at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and gained U.S. citizenship in 2004. 

    Tatyana McFadden: A Boston Athletic Association invited push rim wheelchair elite racer this year, McFadden is one of the most decorated athletes of all time. She won four gold medals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and has been undefeated at the Boston, New York, Chicago and London Marathons since 2013. This past summer she received the ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. McFadden will be a John Hancock Ambassador during the coming year.

    Shalane Flanagan, a four-time Olympian, recorded the fastest time ever run by an American woman on the Boston course (2:22:02) in 2014. She holds American records in the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m and in the 10K, 15K, and 25K. She won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics 10,000m and won the bronze medal at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships. Flanagan won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and was ninth in the 2012 Olympic Marathon. In 2016, she was third at the Trials and sixth in the Olympic Marathon.

    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.

    Deena Kastor: A three-time Olympian, Kastor is the U.S. record holder in the marathon (2:19:36) and the half marathon (1:07:34). In 2004 at the Olympic Marathon, she won the bronze medal. She currently holds the U.S. masters record in the marathon as well. She has won 18 U.S. titles across various distances and earned two silver medals at the World Cross Country Championships. She won the 2005 Chicago Marathon, the 2006 London Marathon, and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.

    Becca Pizzi: In 2016, Becca Pizzi ran 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days as part of the 2016 World Marathon Challenge. Not only was she the first American women to ever complete the challenge, she won each of these marathons and set a new women’s record of 27 hours, 26 minutes and 15 seconds. Becca has run over 50 marathons, including nearly 20 Boston Marathons.

    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. Rick continues to race with Bryan Lyons.

    The 2017 Boston Marathon marks the 32nd 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

    For more information about the elite athlete program and sponsorship, please visit or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.

    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 $977 billion (US $728 billion) as at December 31, 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 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

    PR 2017-29

    Mary Kate Shea
    Phone : 617-596-7382
    Email :