John Hancock and Boston Athletic Association announce sixteen former champions returning to 2020 Boston Marathon!

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I always love this announcement. The BAA and John Hancock do the elite announcement with style and the prestige warranted this amazing event. Check it out and begin to get excited about the iconic Boston event!

I am quite excited to see Des Linden coming to Boston, just after what I hope is her making the top 3 in Atlanta for the Olympic team!

Linden_Desi-Boston19.JPGDes Linden, photo by Photorun.net

BOSTON, MA, December 17, 2019 --John Hancock and the Boston Athletic Association today announced the return of 2019 Boston Marathon open champions Lawrence Cherono and Worknesh Degefa and wheelchair champions Manuela Schär and Daniel Romanchuk for the 124th running of the race on April 20, 2020.

Twelve additional champions will also seek another win: open champions Desiree Linden, Yuki Kawauchi, Edna Kiplagat, Geoffrey Kirui, Lelisa Desisa, Caroline Rotich; and wheelchair champions Tatyana McFadden, Marcel Hug, Ernst van Dyk, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Joshua Cassidy and Masazumi Soejima. Linden will run both the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon on February 29 and the Boston Marathon on April 20, while two-time champion Desisa returns as reigning World Athletics Marathon Champion.

"In our 35th year as principal sponsor of this historic race, we are excited to welcome back our accomplished champions," said John Hancock Chief Marketing Officer Barbara Goose. "Their return is a testimony to the tradition and legacy that is the Boston Marathon. These champions are not just racing each other, they are chasing history. On Patriots' Day we will cheer for all as they persevere with determination to cross the finish line and become part of our city. Welcome to Boston."

"The race for the tape on Patriots' Day will surely be both competitive and compelling, as John Hancock has fielded a tremendous team of champions," said Tom Grilk, Chief Executive Officer of the B.A.A. "With 16 returning champions, the roads leading to Boston will be filled with many of the most decorated runners and wheelchair racers in history. Another memorable chapter in Boston Marathon history will surely unfold on April 20."

Watch the Returning Champions Video.

Athlete Quotes

Lawrence Cherono: Winner of the 2019 Boston Marathon by two-seconds over two-time champion Lelisa Desisa, Cherono has won eight marathons, including a win at the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and wins in Amsterdam and Honolulu.

"I am happy to return to the Boston Marathon to defend my title. Boston will have a special place in my memories forever," said Cherono. "I loved every mile of this race and fought until the end to achieve the first place and become part of the elite family to have won the most prestigious race of the world. I look forward to being at the start line of the 2020 edition."

Worknesh Degefa: Champion of the 2019 Boston Marathon and the 2017 Dubai Marathon, Degefa holds the Ethiopian National Record in the marathon. Last year she won by 42 seconds.

"I am so happy to accept the invitation from John Hancock to return to Boston next year as the defending champion of this historic race," said Degefa. "I could see first-hand how special the city of Boston, all the towns along the course, and the community is to so many people. And of course, I look forward to the challenge next April of once again racing against the world's best athletes. I can't wait to return to defend my title in April."

Manuela Schär: The course record holder (1:28:17) and reigning champion, Schär returns looking for her third Boston victory. Schär won the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII title in 2019.

"I am very excited to return to Boston. Next year is going to be a very special and exciting year with Tokyo 2020 coming up and every single race is going to be a test and an assessment," said Schär.

Daniel Romanchuk: Romanchuk made race history in 2019, becoming the youngest men's wheelchair winner in race history at the age of 20. He earned America's first win in the division since 1993, breaking the tape in 1:21:36 last year.

"Winning Boston last year was a life-changing event, and I can't wait to return to defend my title," said Romanchuk. "I'm sure the field will be well-prepared to battle it out again, so the race should be an exciting one to watch unfold. I hope we can give the amazing Boston crowds a great race!"

Desiree Linden: A two-time U.S. Olympian and winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon, Linden has placed top-five in nine Abbott World Marathon Majors. She will race in both the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and 2020 Boston Marathon.

"I'm ecstatic to have another opportunity to line up at the Boston Marathon as part of the John Hancock Elite Team. At this point in my career I enter each race with a heightened sense of urgency and have become very selective in what races I'm willing to commit my time and energy to," said Linden. "The Boston Marathon has always been the most motivating race on my schedule; I'm grateful that in an Olympic year John Hancock is supportive of me competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials as well. I hope to stand on the start line in Hopkinton as the first U.S. Woman to have made three Olympic Marathon teams."

John Hancock Elite Team

Open Champions

Country

Personal Best Time

Lawrence Cherono

Kenya

2:04:06 (Amsterdam, 2018) CR

Lelisa Desisa

Ethiopia

2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013)

Geoffrey Kirui

Kenya

2:06:27 (Amsterdam, 2016)

Yuki Kawauchi

Japan

2:08:14 (Seoul, 2013)

Worknesh Degefa

Ethiopia

2:17:41 (Dubai, 2019) NR

Edna Kiplagat

Kenya

2:19:50 (London, 2012)

Desiree Linden

U.S.A.

2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)

Caroline Rotich

Kenya

2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012)

B.A.A. Wheelchair Champions

Country

Personal Best Time

Marcel Hug

Switzerland

1:18:04 (Boston, 2017)

Ernst van Dyk

South Africa

1:18:04 (Boston, 2017)

Joshua Cassidy

Canada

1:18:25 (Boston, 2012)

Masazumi Soejima

Japan

1:18:50 (Boston, 2011)

Hiroyuki Yamamoto

Japan

1:19:32 (Boston, 2017)

Daniel Romanchuk

U.S.A.

1:21:36 (Boston, 2019)

Manuela Schär

Switzerland

1:28:17 (Boston, 2017)

Tatyana McFadden

U.S.A.

1:31:30 (Duluth, 2019)

Additional Field Notes for Returning Champions:

Desiree Linden: A two-time U.S. Olympian and winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon, Linden has placed top-five in nine Abbott World Marathon Majors. She will race in both the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and 2020 Boston Marathon.

"I'm ecstatic to have another opportunity to line up at the Boston Marathon as part of the John Hancock Elite Team. At this point in my career I enter each race with a heightened sense of urgency and have become very selective in what races I'm willing to commit my time and energy to. The Boston Marathon has always been the most motivating race on my schedule; I'm grateful that in an Olympic year John Hancock is supportive of me competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials as well. I hope to stand on the start line in Hopkinton as the first U.S. Women to have made three Olympic Marathon teams.

"Running the Boston Marathon seven weeks after the US Olympic Trials is a plan that has been in the works for roughly a year. I crossed the finish line in 2019 and knew if my body was capable, I wanted to return to Boston in 2020. My coach Walt Drenth and I had some long conversations on doing the double, how we would tailor the training, and if it was reasonable to expect to run well in both races -- we were both excited about the challenge. No matter the outcome of the Olympic Trials I'll stand in Hopkinton looking to challenge for a top spot in Boston and excited to put on a show for the best fans in the world."

Yuki Kawauchi: Winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon and an icon for his high-volume, high quality racing, Kawauchi has won over 30 marathons, holds the Japanese 50K record and has competed on three World Athletics Marathon Championships teams.

Tatyana McFadden: A 22-time Abbott World Marathon Majors winner, McFadden has broken the tape first in Boston five times. McFadden has already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in the Marathon.

Marcel Hug: Known as the 'Swiss Silver Bullet', Hug won four Boston Marathons in a row from 2015 through 2018. He is also the course record holder, having won the 2017 race in a world best of 1:18:04.

Edna Kiplagat: From Kenya, Kiplagat ran the second fastest time in race history (2:21:52) en route to her 2017 Boston Marathon win. Kiplagat is a two-time gold medalist at the World Athletics Marathon Championships and a three-time winner of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series.

Geoffrey Kirui: Winner of the 2017 Boston Marathon and 2017 World Athletics Marathon Championships, Kirui placed fifth at Boston in 2019. His career best marathon time is 2:06:27.

Ernst van Dyk: The most decorated champion in race history, van Dyk has ten Boston titles to his name. In his 20 Boston Marathon appearances, van Dyk has only missed the podium three times.

Hiroyuki Yamamoto: The 2013 Boston Marathon champion, Yamamoto clocked 1:25:32 en route to winning the 117th edition of the race. His most recent podium finish came in 2017, when he finished third.

Lelisa Desisa: The reigning World Athletics Marathon champion, Desisa is a two-time Boston winner (2013, 2015) and 2018 TCS New York City Champion. Most notably, he gifted his 2013 champion's medal back to the City of Boston after the April 15, 2013 tragedy.

Caroline Rotich: Kicking her way to victory, Rotich won the 2015 Boston Marathon by a mere four seconds in 2:24:55. Winner of numerous road races across America, Rotich is one of only three athletes to have won both the B.A.A. Half Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

Joshua Cassidy: A former course record holder, Cassidy won the 2012 Boston Marathon in 1:18:25. He has represented Canada at the Paralympic Games three times.

Masazumi Soejima: Winner of both the 2007 and 2011 Boston Marathons, Soejima returned to the podium in 2019 with a runner-up finish at the age of 48.

John Hancock Elite Team

Open Champions

Country

Personal Best Time

Lawrence Cherono

Kenya

2:04:06 (Amsterdam, 2018) CR

Lelisa Desisa

Ethiopia

2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013)

Geoffrey Kirui

Kenya

2:06:27 (Amsterdam, 2016)

Yuki Kawauchi

Japan

2:08:14 (Seoul, 2013)

Worknesh Degefa

Ethiopia

2:17:41 (Dubai, 2019) NR

Edna Kiplagat

Kenya

2:19:50 (London, 2012)

Desiree Linden

U.S.A.

2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)

Caroline Rotich

Kenya

2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012)

B.A.A. Wheelchair Champions

Country

Personal Best Time

Marcel Hug

Switzerland

1:18:04 (Boston, 2017)

Ernst van Dyk

South Africa

1:18:04 (Boston, 2017)

Joshua Cassidy

Canada

1:18:25 (Boston, 2012)

Masazumi Soejima

Japan

1:18:50 (Boston, 2011)

Hiroyuki Yamamoto

Japan

1:19:32 (Boston, 2017)

Daniel Romanchuk

U.S.A.

1:21:36 (Boston, 2019)

Manuela Schär

Switzerland

1:28:17 (Boston, 2017)

Tatyana McFadden

U.S.A.

1:31:30 (Duluth, 2019)

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