April 12, 2018
HOPKINTON, MA – John Hancock brought Boston Marathon defending champions Geoffrey Kirui and Edna Kipligat, 2015 women’s champion Caroline Rotich and several other elite Kenyan athletes to a pre-marathon rally with more than 500 students from Hopkinton’s Elmwood Elementary School. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the first time John Hancock brought Kenyan athletes to the school for this event.
The rally, 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 35 Boston Marathon titles.
The Kenyan runners at the event were led by Kirui, who said, “I am glad to return to the enthusiasm and warmth shown by the children at Elmwood. I think the whole group of us appreciates the opportunity to share our culture, experience and love of running with them.”
Joining Kurui, Kipligat and Rotich were 7 other elite runners from Kenya, all of whom will participate in the 122th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2018.
“This Hopkinton event has been part of John Hancock’s long-time commitment to inspire an interest in a love of running and fitness and other cultures,” said John Hancock Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Goose. “We’re so happy to be able to introduce the elite athletes to the students and hope that the children’s enthusiasm in turn helps them through the marathon.”
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.”
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