Ryan Hall is Running BAA Boston! release and Glowing comments by Larry Eder

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On the Sunday night, after the ING New York City Marathon, agent Ray Flynn and I were having an adult beverage in Rosie O'Grady's. Ray has Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall, among his strong group of athletes. Also in attendance was Peter Stubbs, agent of Kara Goucher, who had just finished third that day in her debut at the ING New York City Marathon.

I was mentioning to Ray how great it would be to see Ryan Hall, Brian Sell, Dathan and Kara, among others, running and winning major US marathons. Ray gave one of those looks like, hmmm, good idea. ( My guess is, the deal was done by then, but I do not know.) My reasoning?

Our sport needs a shot in the arm that only an American winner can give. If Ryan can be the first American male to win Boston since 1983 and Greg Meyer's victory, sports writers who need a thesaurus to spell the word, aerobics, will be writing semi intelligently about our sport.

I congratulate BAA Boston and John Hancock on seeing that Boston needs an American champion. Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher winning Boston would be a huge deal, as it would at Chicago and New York as well.

We need American champions to take the sport to the next level in the U.S.

JOHN HANCOCK FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES
TOP AMERICAN RYAN HALL
TO RUN 2009 BOSTON MARATHON

Olympian and U.S. Trials Champion Ryan Hall seeks American win in Boston

BOSTON, MA, November 18, 2008—In its 24th year as the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, John Hancock Financial today announced the signing of Olympic marathoner and American half marathon record holder Ryan Hall for the 113th running of the race on April 20, 2009.

The fastest American marathoner in 2007 and 2008, Hall has quickly proven himself as one of the best distance runners in the world. He seeks to become the first American winner of the race since Grey Meyer in 1983.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to compete on the John Hancock elite team at the 2009 Boston Marathon,” said Hall. “The Boston Marathon is the granddaddy of the World Marathon Majors, to win here would mean as much to me as winning any marathon in the world, including the Olympic Games. To win in Boston would show the world that American distance running is indeed back to the days of Salazar, Beardsley, and Rodgers. I hope that I can contribute to bringing American marathoning back to the forefront. There is no better place to do that than Boston. What is done in Boston lives on for all time.”

A 2005 Stanford graduate and three-time All American, Hall quickly found his greatest potential on the roads. In late 2006, he set the American 20K record at the World Championships and in early 2007 broke the 21-year old American half marathon record at the U.S. Championships. His 59:43 win marked the first time an American had ever broken the one-hour barrier.

Turning to the marathon, Hall made his debut on the London course in 2007 and stayed with the African leaders until the final miles. His 2:08:24 was the fastest debut ever by an American. A few months later at the U.S. Olympic Trials, he set a course record as he cruised to a nearly two-minute lead over one of the best U.S. fields ever assembled.

Continuing his meteoric rise Hall returned to London in advance of the Olympics and ran a remarkable 2:06:17, making him the second fastest American of all time. At the Olympics Hall placed 10th, and although he had some disappointment in that showing, he is young and eager to build on his potential.

“Ryan’s Boston Marathon debut will be a highly anticipated performance throughout the sports world,” said Executive Director Guy Morse, of the Boston Athletic Association, which oversees the race. “As an American Olympian recruited by our principal sponsor John Hancock Financial, his commitment to race in Boston, combined with his record of outstanding performances, are indicators that he will add great excitement to the 113th Boston Marathon as he challenges some of the world’s best athletes on the world’s most famous course.”

Hall is married to professional runner Sara Bei Hall and the couple resides in Mammoth Lakes, California. The Halls are active with charitable groups such as Team World Vision. They worked on a campaign this year, “More Precious than Gold,” that raised nearly a million dollars to help bring clean water wells and irrigation systems to poor communities in Zambia.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife Financial Corporation

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation (the Company), a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Company 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 Cdn$385.3 billion (US$363.5 billion) as at September 30, 2007.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

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, fixed and variable annuities, 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 www.johnhancock.com.

To read Toni Reavis' keynote from RRM, please click here :http://www.runblogrun.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=922&blog_id=1

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