“Adopt-a-Marathoner” Program Celebrates 15th Year Defending Champions Discuss Kenyan Culture and Training
Hopkinton– Today the John Hancock Financial Services Running and Fitness ‘Adopt-a-Marathoner’ program celebrated its 15th anniversary with nearly 600 students from Hopkinton’s Elmwood Elementary School greeting and meeting top Kenyan marathon runners.
John Hancock’s Running and Fitness ‘Adopt-a-Marathoner’ program, now in its 15th year, gives students an opportunity to learn first hand about Kenya’s culture and about the lifestyles of the country’s talented marathon runners.
The runners at the event included Boston Marathon defending champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Rita Jeptoo and many of their Kenyan teammates, including 2006 Boston runner up Benjamin Maiyo and 2004 runner up Robert Cheboror. This Kenyan marathon team, which includes a total of 13 athletes, will participate in the 111th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2007.
“The Hopkinton clinic is part of John Hancock’s overall commitment to develop innovative youth programs, which strive to teach children about the benefits of health and fitness,” said Debra Maxfield, director, Brand Management and Corporate Communications, John Hancock. “This event also serves as an opportunity to thank the elite Kenyan athletes who have represented their country well at the Marathon. You can always feel the excitement and energy in the gymnasium as the children cheer on these world class runners.”
The annual event began in 1993 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 8,900 students, teachers, administrators and other Hopkinton community members have participated in the event since it began.
“We are always looking for ways to promote the benefits of education and athletics,” said School Superintendent Dr. John E. Phelan, Jr. “This annual event offers a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about another culture and why it is important to develop a strong work ethic in sports and in school.”
About John Hancock and Manulife Financial
John Hancock is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through 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$414 (US$355 billion) as at December 31, 2006.
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.
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Melissa Simon Berczuk